Updated January 8th, 2024 at 16:48 IST

92-year-old claims title of oldest to cross the Grand Canyon on foot

Alfredo Aliaga Burdio, a 92-year-old resident of Berlin, has become a sensation, setting records with his triumphant completion of an almost 24-mile hike.

Reported by: Manasvi Asthana
92-year-old claims title of oldest to cross the Grand Canyon on foot after months of training | Image:X: @guinnessworldrecords
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Alfredo Aliaga Burdio, a 92-year-old resident of Berlin, has become a sensation, setting records with his triumphant completion of an almost 24-mile hike across the Grand Canyon in Arizona. On October 15, 2023, Burdio accomplished this historic trek, securing the title of the oldest person to cross the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim on foot (male), as officially recognized by the Guinness World Records on New Year's Day.

Burdio's remarkable journey, totaling 34 hours and 2 minutes, comprised 21 hours and 15 minutes of actual hiking time. Starting from the North Rim Trailhead, he spent 11 hours and 15 minutes hiking down to Phantom Ranch. The following day, he dedicated another 10 hours to hike from Phantom Ranch to the South Rim Trailhead. These impressive feats were authenticated by the renowned Guinness World Records, the global authority on record-breaking achievements.

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Despite this being Burdio's second successful hike across the Grand Canyon, the idea to set a record sparked during a previous expedition with his son. His determination and resilience shone through during the 34-hour journey, showcasing not only physical endurance but also a passion for adventure that defies age.

In sharing his motivation with Guinness World Records, Burdio said, "I knew that I was only a few months younger than Mr. Jepkema had been and thought that I had a great shot at setting a new record the following year."

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When did he start his preparations?

Commencing his preparations in January 2023, approximately nine months before embarking on the journey, Burdio diligently trained for the historic hike. His routine involved walking eight miles each day, demonstrating a disciplined approach to physical conditioning in anticipation of the challenging trek.

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Initially scheduled for early 2022, the record attempt faced a delay due to unfavorable weather conditions. Despite this setback, Burdio persisted in his training regimen, showcasing resilience and determination in his pursuit of setting a new record for the oldest person to cross the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim on foot.

Commencing at the North Rim, Burdio took regular breaks, nearly every hour, during his hike.

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“I was very tired after those first five hours,” said Burdio.

“But what surprised me is that after about a 15-minute break, some food, and electrolytes, I recovered and felt strong again to tackle the next seven hours,” he added.

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Burdio emphasized that his mindset and the capacity to proceed at a measured pace during challenging moments were crucial factors in overcoming the hike.

“I think of the next step and the next, and not how far I still have to go,” said Burdio.

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What made him start?

He developed a passion for hiking after the passing of his wife due to ALS in 2006. In honor of her memory, he prioritised visiting the locations they had explored together. Notably, he embarked on a rim-to-rim hike in the Grand Canyon with his daughter and 9-year-old grandson.

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Takeaways from his remarkable journey

According to Burdio, the most captivating aspect of the hike was encountering the people along the way who cheered him on.

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While on his hike, Burdio had a noteworthy encounter with a group of firefighters who bestowed upon him an honorary membership in the Tucson Fire Department, presenting him with a Tucson Fire Department patch.

Expressing gratitude for those who accompanied him during the journey, the 92-year-old highlighted the support of those who witnessed his remarkable feat.

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Reflecting on the hike, Burdio's message is a testament to the idea that it is never too late to attempt something new, even in old age.

Reports suggest that Burdio is actively planning to undertake another hike in the Grand Canyon later this year.

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Published January 8th, 2024 at 16:48 IST