A Nepalese Sherpa climber, Kami Rita, has scaled the Mount Everest for a 24th time, the second such feat in just a week after breaking his own record for the most successful ascents of the world’s highest peak.
The 49-year-old, who is a native of Thame village located in the shadow of Mount Everest, reached the 8,848-metre peak via the Southeast Ridge route on Tuesday, tourism department official Mira Acharya said.
Acharya said Rita, who goes by his first name Kami, said he wanted to climb the mountain one more time.
“I am still strong and want to climb Sagarmatha 25 times,” Kami had told Reuters news agency before leaving for his 23rd climb last week, referring to the Nepali name for the Everest.
‘Like a soldier’
Rita first scaled the Everest in 1994 and has been making the trip nearly every year since, one of many Sherpa guides whose expertise and skills are vital to the safety and success of the hundreds of climbers who head to Nepal each year seeking to stand on top of the world.
His father was among the first Sherpa guides employed to help climbers reach the summit and Rita followed in his footsteps and then some.
In addition to his nearly two dozen summits of Everest, Rita has scaled several other peaks that are among the world’s highest, including K-2, Cho-Oyu, Manaslu and Lhotse.
Rita was at Everest’s base camp in 2015 when an avalanche swept through, killing 19 people.
After that tragedy, he came under intense family pressure to quit mountaineering altogether, but in the end, decided against it.
The route was pioneered by New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953 and remains the most popular snow trail leading to the highest point on the Earth.
Nearly 5,000 climbers have scaled the peak since the pioneering ascent, many multiple times.
Two other climbers, both Sherpas, have scaled Everest 21 times each. They have both retired from mountaineering.
The climbing season ends in May and hundreds of climbers are currently on the Everest, trying to reach the top from both the Nepali and Tibetan sides of the mountain.
Tourism, which includes mountain climbing, is the main source of income for cash-strapped Nepal, home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains.