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KATMANDU, Nepal - The oldest woman to climb Mount Everest said Friday she finally felt she had gotten old when she scaled the world’s highest peak last weekend.

Tamae Watanabe, 73, of Japan, beat her own age record for an Everest climb by a woman set 10 years ago. She had feared she could never climb again because of an accident in 2005 when she broke her back.

“It was much more difficult for me this time. I felt I was weaker and had less power. This time it was certainly different, I felt that I had gotten old,’’ Watanabe told reporters Friday on return to the Nepalese capital Katmandu from the mountain.


She reached the summit from the Tibetan side May 19.

That day, more than 200 climbers were aiming for the summit on the busier southern route in Nepal. Four died, apparently from altitude sickness and exhaustion, on one of the deadliest days on the mountain.

Watanabe said what surprised her, compared with her earlier climb, was the effect of warmer temperatures on the mountain. “There was a glacial lake formed near the base camp from the melting ice which our cooks could fetch water from,’’ she said, adding she is now encouraged to campaign against global warming.