He's the Oldest Person to Hike Grand Canyon Rim to Rim

Alfredo Aliaga Burdio snags world record at 92
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 3, 2024 9:39 AM CST
He's the Oldest Person to Hike Grand Canyon Rim to Rim
Alfredo Aliaga Burdio, with friends and family, at the Grand Canyon.   (Guinness World Records)

It took Alfredo Aliaga Burdio 21 hours and 15 minutes to hike the 24 miles from the North Rim to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. But the 92-year-old Spaniard just confirmed as the oldest person to complete the trek is sure he could've moved faster. "[There were] a lot of people asking me, 'Oh, you are Alfredo. May I get a picture with you?'" he told USA Today after completing the hike in October. "We lost a lot of time making pictures." Burdio's inspiring story had been shared in a Facebook hiking group with more than 70,000 members. But there were also those who recognized Burdio from his many previous rim-to-rim hikes. The October hike was the first completed with evidence, in the form of fitness tracker data, plotting on Google Earth, and independent witness accounts.

All that evidence cemented Burdio as the oldest person on record to have hiked the Grand Canyon from rim to rim. The previous record holder, John Jepkema of Colorado, was 91 when he completed the trek in 2019. Burdio met people who told him he was their hero and inspiration. But he says anyone can make the change to living a healthy life like him. "I began living a healthy lifestyle really at age 76," he tells Guinness World Records, per the Guardian. In 2006, his wife of 39 years and fellow world traveler, Ingrid, died of ALS. Burdio, who'd "taken care of Ingrid 24/7 for two years," decided to return to the Grand Canyon, a place the couple had visited together, his daughter, Anabel Aliaga-Buchenau of North Carolina, tells USA Today. He completed his first of what would become numerous rim-to-rim hikes.

To train for the hike completed Oct. 15, Burdio walked three hours every day in Berlin, where he lives with his son. Accompanied by Aliaga-Buchenau, her husband Jurgen Buchenau, and two volunteer witnesses, he reached Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon in 11 hours and 15 minutes. He completed the second half of the journey in 10 hours. Cheered on as he took his final steps, he's inspired to hike the trail again in May and to seek other age-related hiking records, he tells Guinness. After all, "we are willed by Mother Nature to move, and if you are eight hours sitting in a chair, you cannot be healthy," he told USA Today. He recommends everyone walk at least 30 minutes each day, sleep eight hours every night, and eat healthy food while staying hydrated with water. (More world record stories.)

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