updated 5/17/2006 1:58:04 PM ET 2006-05-17T17:58:04

A mountaineering company said a 70-year-old Japanese man on Wednesday became the oldest person to scale Mount Everest, the world's tallest mountain. However, Guinness World Records said it couldn't immediately confirm the claim.

Takao Arayama, age 70 years, 7 months and 13 days, was the oldest person ever to scale the 29,035-foot peak, according to Toshinori Koya, who heads Tokyo-based Adventure Guides, which planned the climb.

The Guinness World Records Web site says the record has been held by another Japanese, Yuichiro Miura, who reached the famed peak at the age of 70 years, 7 months and 10 days, on May 22, 2003.

Arayama, who climbed the mountain as part of a five-member team, reached the summit at 10:45 a.m. local time (0500 GMT) Wednesday morning, Koya said.

He said team leader Kenji Kondo, 43, contacted the company by satellite phone several hours after reaching the peak.

Arayama descends to lower camp
Arayama, a corporate management consultant, has now safely descended to a lower camp on the mountain and is in good health, Koya said.

Arayama's wife, Kyoko, said she got word from Adventure Guides of Takao's feat at about 4 p.m. local time (0700 GMT) Wednesday.

"I was just happy to hear he was safe," she said from their home in Kamakura, about 30 miles southwest of Tokyo.

"We are very proud to have helped make another climber's dream come true — that is, to climb Mount Everest," Koya said. "The record is more of a bonus."

Everest straddles the Nepal-China border. Arayama's team climbed the mountain from the Chinese side, according to a blog or Internet journal kept by Kondo and his supporters on the Adventure Guides Web site.

The blog said Arayama started climbing seriously in his 40s and has also climbed the 20,320-foot Denali in Alaska, North America's highest peak, according to the blog.

Kate White, a spokeswoman for London-based Guinness World Records, said Wednesday, "We have not had any report of this record. If he (Arayama) is older, we would look forward to announcing a new Guinness world record.

In order to do so, she said the company would need his birth certificate, photographs, witness statements and a log book of his climb.

Koya said his company would help Arayama verify the record as soon as the climber gets back to Japan, though no date had been set for his return.

First Filipino to the top
Also on Wednesday, Philippine adventure racer Leo Oracion reached Everest’s summit, expedition organizers said, claiming he is the first Filipino to scale the world's highest peak.

"The Philippine eagle has landed," Oracion, 32, was quoted saying in a radio message to Arturo Valdez, leader of the First Philippine Mount Everest Expedition.

Valdez told ABS-CBN television in Manila from the Everest Base Camp in Nepal that he received the call from Oracion around 0730 GMT (5:30 p.m. in the Philippines; 3:30 p.m. in Nepal).

He said Oracion was with a group of Swiss and Korean climbers who also made the summit and that the group spent some time waiting to stand on the summit due to a "traffic jam" created by about 20 climbers at the Hillary Step.

The step is the last major hurdle along the Nepalese southern route.

Another Philippine expedition member, Erwin Emata, was expected to stand atop the mountain Thursday, and a third, Romeo Garduce, was expected to make it shortly afterward.

"We cried, because this is really a dream come true," said Valdez, a former government official.

"For mountaineers, that's the Holy Grail," said Reggie Pablo, a leader of the Oracion's support group in Manila. "For the Philippine Everest team, it's more of a call for unity and teamwork for this country. We'd like to tell our people, send a message, that we can do the impossible if we put our acts together and work as a team."

Valdez said Emata will make the attempt on the peak from Camp 4, at 26,000 feet, with a bigger group of climbers, including several from Spain.

Concern over ascent without supplemental oxygen
He said he was initially upset and concerned when Oracion left Camp 3, at 23,621 feet, for Camp 4 with a Sherpa guide Tuesday without the aid of an oxygen tank. At that height breathing is difficult because of the lack of oxygen.

He said Oracion ate snow because didn't have enough water to drink.

The Everest climb pitted the Philippines' largest television networks in a race against each other — ABS-CBN television is a major supporter of Oracion's team, while GMA7 television backs Garduce.

The networks have been airing regular reports on the progress of their respective teams since they left for Nepal early this year.

Garduce, a member of the UP Mountaineers at the state-run University of Philippines Mountain and a systems analyst has climbed some of the world's highest peaks, including Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Aconcagua in Argentina and Cho Oyu, the world's sixth-highest mountain, just west of Mount Everest.

Oracion and Emata reached the summit of the 24,757-foot Muztagh Ata in Western Xinjiang, China, in August 2005.

More than 1,200 climbers have reached the summit of Everest in the past 50 years, and at least 175 have dieed trying.

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