KATMANDU, Nepal - A Japanese mountaineer who was nearly killed by an avalanche in 2007 finished a climb last month in Nepal that made him his country’s first person to scale the world’s 14 tallest mountains.
“I have always wanted to climb mountains, as long as I remember,’’ Hirotaka Takeuchi said Monday in Katmandu. “It was always my childhood dream to scale high peaks.’’
The Nepal Mountaineering Association said Takeuchi scaled the 26,788-foot-high Mount Dhaulagiri on May 26 to finish his 17-year mission. All the top 14 peaks - including Everest, K2, and Kanchenjunga - are in the Himalayan or Karakoram ranges of Asia.
Takeuchi, 41, a Tokyo native, is the 30th person to climb all 14 mountains and the first Japanese climber to achieve the feat, association official Deebash Bikram Shah said.
His mission almost ended in 2007 when an avalanche on Mount Gashabrum swept him some 1,000 feet and buried him completely in snow. Two German climbers were killed in the avalanche, and a third was injured badly. Takeuchi was dug out by other mountaineers and rescued by helicopter.
Reinhold Messner of Italy was the first climber to reach the top of all 14 mountains, setting the record in 1986.
Takeuchi’s quest began in 1995, when he reached the summit of Nepal’s Makalu, the fifth-highest mountain in the world at 27,766 feet.