split image of alfredo burdio hiking and group photo

They say age is nothing but a number. 

That is certainly the case when it comes to Alfredo Aliaga Burdio. 

The 92-year-old, who currently lives in Berlin, Germany, completed his trek across the Grand Canyon on 15 October 2023, becoming the oldest person to cross the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim on foot (male).


Although it was Alfredo’s most historical journey across the Grand Canyon, it certainly wasn’t his first. 

“I have hiked in the Grand Canyon many times in my life,” he said. 

I came here with my wife, Ingrid, quite a few times and we did cross it from rim to rim several times.

After his wife passed away from ALS in 2006, Alfredo decided he wanted to revisit the places where they had travelled together, so he took his daughter and nine-year-old grandson to hike rim to rim in the Grand Canyon.

Then, in October 2022, Alfredo crossed the Grand Canyon together with his son in just four days. 

It was during this journey that he came up with the idea to attempt the record. 


“I had read about the previous record holder, Mr. John Jepkema whom I admired immensely,” said Alfredo. 

“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.”

In January of this year, Alfredo began training for what would be the hike of a lifetime. 

He began walking 12 km (8 miles) every day.

The record attempt was supposed to take place in May 2022, but the North Rim and the North Kaibab trail were closed due to too much snow in the winter and damage from meltwater.

Alfredo adjusted his plans, hiking from the South Rim to Phantom Ranch, and staying two nights before hiking out the same way. 


“I noticed that the training every day had made a difference,” said Alfredo. 

I was feeling very strong and noticed that it was easier than in the previous October hike.

In October, Alfredo finally began his long-awaited hike, starting at the North Rim due to logistics. 

He was able to get lodging at the North Rim, making the trip much easier.

Alfredo began to make his journey at 6 a.m. before stopping at the Coconino Overlook at 6:20 a.m. where he saw the sun rising. 

The journey down the Grand Canyon is very strenuous and the way down is extremely steep from the North Rim to Manzanita, but Alfredo made an effort to stop and take a break nearly every hour. 


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

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

Alfredo also said walking slowly but steadily helped him throughout his hike, as well as matter of the mind. 

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

“Then it is not so overwhelming and very doable.”


Alfredo says although the most interesting part of hiking the Grand Canyon is usually the geology, the river, and the rocks, this time it was the people. 

He says many people were hiking the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim and took the time to be kind to him. 

“Truly the best thing was meeting all the people on the trail, that support and kindness and just happiness was wonderful,” said Alfredo. 

They all seemed to know who I was, word had travelled both on the trail up and down and on social media before.

Alfredo says every single person cheered him on and was happy for him.

He was also appreciative of his witnesses, who helped make the entire endeavour a success. 


“Can you believe that two people who would usually cross the Canyon in eight hours agreed to be witnesses, walked at my speed, and were unwavering in their support,” said Alfredo. 

“Julian Coiner and Peter Todd are truly unusually kind and wonderful people.”

Alfredo even became an honorary member of the Tucson Fire Department during his trek, after running into firefighters who had awarded him a Tucson Fire Department patch. 

Although the entire journey took Alfredo 34 hours and 2 minutes, his actual hiking time was 21 hours and 15 minutes. 

It took 11 hours and 15 minutes to hike from the North Rim Trailhead down to Phantom Ranch and an additional 10 hours the next day from Phantom Ranch to the South Rim Trailhead.

Alfredo hopes his journey will show people that doing what you love and never giving up on trying to achieve things is what matters. 


He would also like to show people that it is never too late to try something. 

“I began living a healthy lifestyle really at age 76,” said Alfredo. 

My secret to a healthy life is based on three things: eating healthy and drinking water, walking for 30 minutes a day, and sleeping in the dark of the night for eight hours.

Although Alfredo would eventually like to break an additional record title by hiking the Aconcagua, the Chimborazo, or the Cotopaxi, he says his next plans are to hike the Grand Canyon again in May, without all the pressure. 

“My son-in-law already has a cabin for October 2024, when we want to see if we can go with my son’s family,” he said. 

“But I have to see how I am doing then. I am getting older.”


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