Marc Batard could star in one of those heist films where the hero comes out of retirement to do one last job. We thought he’d hung up his crampons, but, at the age of 70, he has just set a new record on Everest, 34 years after his ascent of the roof of the world in 22 hours 29 minutes earned him the nickname “the Everest sprinter”.
His latest goal is not only to become the oldest person to have climbed Everest without oxygen, but to do it via a new route. His son reconnoitred the route, which goes up to Camp II and avoids the perilous Khumbu Icefall, in the autumn of 2021.. The expedition is planned for the spring of 2022.
Batard’s preparations have not gone as smoothly as hoped. He had to turn back from the summit of Annapurna in April 2021 and one of his favoured climbing companions for the Everest trip, Muhammad Ali Sadpara, was killed while attempting K2 last winter.