91-Year-Old Is Oldest Person to Cross Grand Canyon

He's the oldest person to cross it rim-to-rim on foot, which he did in 5 days
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2023 3:31 AM CDT
91-Year-Old Crosses Grand Canyon in 5 Days, Setting Record
Stock photo of the Grand Canyon.   (Getty Images / desertsolitaire)

The latest evidence that age ain't nothin' but a number: John Jepkema has been honored for crossing the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim on foot when he was 91 years old, becoming the oldest person ever to do so. The Colorado man, whose 2019 feat was recently acknowledged by Guinness World Records, accomplished the backpacking trek in 5 days, Fox 29 reports. "I'm pretty competitive by nature," Jepkema told his local newspaper, the Craig Daily Press, back in 2019. "I knew it was an open record, so I decided to go for it."

He made the hike with a group of friends ages 66 to 70, and they documented it for the purposes of the Guinness application. He'd made it to the bottom of the canyon six times prior, with three of those trips being rim-to-rim—especially impressive considering, as he told the Craig Daily Press in 2020 after Guinness told him his record would be official, he first started hiking at age 79. He said at that time had had no plans for another "major effort," but might continue to do day hikes and possibly short overnight trips. He also said he might get back into another hobby: "I started competitively shooting with some friends years and years ago and just kept at it,” he said, even attending state and regional championships. (More uplifting news stories.)

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