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23 May, 2024
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Guinness recognizes oldest person to conquer Grand Canyon on foot

92-year-old completes historic rim-to-rim hike


In a testament to the adage that age is just a number, 92-year-old Alfredo Aliaga Burdio has etched his name into the annals of adventure by becoming the oldest person to conquer the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim on foot.

As The Guardian reports, in an exclusive interview with Guinness World Records, the Spanish-born resident of Berlin reflects on his extraordinary journey and the unconventional path to embracing a healthy lifestyle at the ripe age of 76.

Aliaga, now a living testament to vitality in the golden years, attributes his remarkable longevity to a set of simple yet impactful habits: mindful eating, staying hydrated with copious amounts of water, a daily 30-minute stroll, and the pursuit of a restful eight hours of nocturnal slumber.

Guinness World Records, recognizing the magnitude of his mid-October feat, engaged Aliaga in a compelling interview after he completed the challenging 24-mile trek across the Grand Canyon, making him the oldest person to achieve this remarkable feat.

Strikingly, Aliaga's health regimen aligns with the findings of a November study by the American Heart Association, identifying eight health measures that can effectively slow down the aging process.

The Grand Canyon is no stranger to Aliaga, who had previously traversed its trails multiple times. His inspiration to claim the title of the oldest to accomplish the rim-to-rim trek stemmed from reading about John Jepkema, who secured the record at age 91 in March. Aliaga, inspired and determined, embarked on a rigorous training routine, covering eight miles daily.

However, nature had other plans, as heavy snowfall and subsequent water damage forced the cancellation of a previously scheduled attempt.

Undeterred by setbacks, Aliaga, joined by his daughter Anabel Aliaga-Buchenau, her husband Jurgen Buchenau, and two committed volunteer witnesses, set out on the record-setting journey in October.

The two-day expedition, starting at the North Rim trailhead, involved an 11-hour and 15-minute trek on the first day to reach Phantom Ranch, known for its hiker accommodations.

The second day saw a 10-hour journey from Phantom Ranch to the South Rim trailhead, culminating in Aliaga securing his record, as attested by Guinness.

While the awe-inspiring river waters, rocks, and geological wonders of the Grand Canyon usually captivate Aliaga, it was the unwavering support of fellow hikers that left an indelible mark on his record-setting journey.

Every person he encountered, from enthusiastic onlookers to Tucson firefighters who bestowed him an honorary department patch, shared in the joy of his achievement.

Expressing heartfelt gratitude, Aliaga singles out his volunteer witnesses, Julian Coiner and Peter Todd, marveling at their exceptional kindness and steadfast support during the trek.

Looking ahead, Aliaga contemplates pushing his age-related records further, considering ambitious hikes like Argentina's Anconcagua mountain or Ecuador's Chimborazo and Cotopaxi volcanoes.

Yet, he remains pragmatic, acknowledging the inevitable march of time and its impact on his aspirations.

In his candid reflection with Guinness, Aliaga humorously acknowledges the reality of aging, stating, "But I have to see how I am doing then. I am getting older."

His story stands as an inspiration for all, urging us to defy limitations and embrace the extraordinary, regardless of the ticking clock.

[With information sourced from The Guardian]

Cyprus  |  GrandCanyon  |  age  |  adventure  |  world  |  Guiness

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