Alfredo Aliaga has set a new world record, becoming the oldest person to cross the Grand Canyon, traversing the natural wonder from rim to rim at the age of 92, breaking the previous record set in 2019.
Spanning about 24 miles from its north rim to its south rim, the Grand Canyon is a daunting challenge for hikers of any age. Hikers must traverse a distance of 14.3 miles and reach a depth of 6,000 feet before connecting with the Bright Angel Trail. They then must ascend 4,500 feet across a distance of 9.6 miles to reach the south rim.
John Jepkema, a resident of Colorado, held the previous record for the oldest person to cross the Grand Canyon, accomplishing the feat at the age of 91 years and 152 days, according to Guinness World Records.
Aliaga, along with his daughter, son-in-law, and two other witnesses, began to cross the Grand Canyon on October 14, accomplishing the 24-mile trek in 2 days and 21 hours, according to Fox 4 KDFW. Aliaga and his companions were greeted by multiple supporters at the end of their journey.
“It was wonderful,” said Aliaga, per Fox 4. “[They’re] all saying, ‘OK, Alfredo! You made it!’ It was really unique.”
Anabel Aliaga-Buchenau, his daughter, described the experience as “uplifting.”
“It puts everything in perspective once you’re in there because you’re so small, and it’s so enormous and so powerful,” she told Fox 4. “If you were religious, this is where you would find God. If you were spiritual, this is where you would find … the meaning.”
Aliaga walked every day for three hours between the months of January and May to prepare for his hike. It was not, however, his first journey through the canyon, having hiked through it multiple times. He had originally wanted to complete the journey in a single day, but his daughter and her husband denied the request.
Aliaga has had a longstanding love for the canyon and the natural world, having earned a Ph.D. in geology. He toured the nation’s parks with his late wife. His journeys have also taken him to other parts of the globe, including Mount Everest, Australia, and Chile.
The 92-year-old is looking forward to another trip with his family next year, when he hopes to return to the canyon to teach them about the area’s geology.
“You cannot say, ‘I am too old’ to do things,” said Aliaga, per Fox 4. “I am healthy and happy.”
It is expected to take Guinness World Records months to confirm the new record.