KATHMANDU (Reuters) – A Nepali Sherpa climbed Mount Everest for the record-breaking 27th time on Wednesday, a government official and his hiking company said, surpassing his own record.
Kami Rita Sherpa, 53, climbed the 8,849-meter (29,032-foot) mountain early in the morning along the traditional southeast ridge route, to guide a foreign climber.
“Yes, he climbed Kami Rita Sagarmatha for the 27th time,” said Bijyan Koirala, an official with the Ministry of Tourism, referring to the mountain by its Nepalese name.
Separately, Himalayan Guides’ Eshwari Paudel said British climber Kenton Cole, 49, on Wednesday made his 17th ascent of the mountain, his biggest ascent by any foreign climber. “Cole is coming down now that he’s driven his own client,” Bodell said.
Tanizwar Jurajai, general manager of Seven Summit Treks, which Kami Rita works for, said he reached the summit at 8.30 am (0245 GMT) with the foreign climber.
“We are trying to get the details. At the moment it is 100% confirmed that Kami Rita has stepped up for the 27th time,” said Juragai.
Kami Rita, who refers to himself by his first names, first climbed Mount Everest in 1994 and has climbed it almost every year since then, with the exception of 2014, 2015 and 2020, when climbing was halted for various reasons.
Garrett Madison of US-based Madison Mountaineering, who has climbed Mount Everest 12 times, five of them with Kami Rita, described him as “a very strong climber”.
“It’s very inspiring to see a local climber continue to push the boundaries of Mount Everest,” Madison told Reuters by phone from Everest Base Camp, where he is preparing for the 13th ascent.
Kami Rita said in a statement that he “devoted his life to mountaineering and has become synonymous with the highest peak in the world.”
Sherpas are renowned for their climbing skills and many make a living guiding foreign clients to Everest and other mountains.
May is the perfect time to attempt to summit Everest, with clear weather before the monsoon arrives from the south, bringing clouds and snow to the peaks and rain to the lowlands.
This year, Nepal has issued 478 permits, the most ever, for people to climb Everest compared to the previous record of 408 permits in 2021.
The Himalayan country, which relies heavily on climbing, trekking and tourism for foreign exchange, has been criticized for allowing too many climbers, many of them inexperienced, to attempt to summit Everest.
Serious overcrowding can develop, especially at a bottleneck called Hillary Step, just below the summit. In 2019, nine exhausted climbers died on Everest after queues of climbers piled up and down.
Everest has been climbed over 11,000 times, on both the Nepalese and Tibetan sides, since it was first climbed in 1953, with many people climbing it multiple times.
Hiking officials said more than 320 people have died on the mountain.
(Reporting by Gopal Sharma). Edited by Robert Purcell
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