Bill Painter wanted a little activity before sitting down to talk about becoming the oldest person to reach the top of Mount Rainier. Nothing too strenuous.
Just pedaling 44 miles on his bicycle, digging a backyard fish pond and hiking 900 feet up Badger Mountain.
At the age of 81, five months and 11 days, Painter reached the 14,411-foot summit about sunrise on July 4, breaking a mark set by Jack Borgenicht of Long Valley, N.J., who got to the top on his 81st birthday in August 1992, Mount Rainier National Park officials confirmed.
Not only did Painter carry his own 50-pound pack, but - unlike Borgenicht and most of the other 11,000 climbers who try to scale the snowy peak each year - he did it without a guide.
"It's very uncommon," park search and rescue supervisor Michael J. Gauthier said Wednesday. "I think it's really quite an achievement."