KATHMANDU, May 16: Veteran mountain climber Kami Rita Sherpa on Wednesday climbed Mt Everest for the 23rd time, breaking his own Guinness book record.
The 49-year old Sherpa, who set a record for summitting Mt Everest last year, climbed the world's highest peak one more time on Wednesday morning during his routine work as a mountaineering guide.
He summitted Everest a day after fixing the ropes. “At 7:30 am, he climbed Everest for the 23rd time,” said Mira Acharya of the Department of Tourism from Everest Base Camp, adding, “It's great news for all of us.”
Tashi Lakpa Sherpa, managing director at Seven Summit Treks P Ltd, the expedition company where Kami Rita works, confirmed the expedition's record climb of the highest peak, via the south face. “This is a matter of pride for the nation; 23 successful climbs of Everest is more than normal imagination,” Tashi said adding, “He has made mountaineering history.”
Born in remote Thame village in Solukhumbu district, Kami Rita was only 12 when he started working as a trekking guide.
After working for several years , he started working as a climbing guide as the pay was much better . When he started working as a climbing guide, expedition companies would allow only experienced guides to go to the summit with their clients. This practice confined Kami Rita to the lower camps for a few years.
He was allowed to go to the summit with clients only in 1994. He had a summit success in his first attempt. Since then, there has been no looking back .
Kami Rita was unable to climb Everest in 1995 as his client became sick on the way to the summit. In 1996, he abandoned a summit bid after a deadly avalanche killed expedition team members.
Kami believes he could tote up more Everest climbs if his first two climbing bids were not cancelled and there was no disaster at Everest in 2014 and 2015.
The Nepal government cancelled expeditions in 2014 after 16 Sherpas were killed in one of the deadliest avalanches while crossing the Khumbu Icefall. Altogether 19 climbers died in 2015 following avalanches triggered by the devastating earthquake of 2015. In the aftermath of the earthquake the government cancelled expeditions.
Besides cancellation of expeditions due to natural calamities, Kami returned from the South Col, also known as the Hillary Step, and missed several opportunities to summit the highest peak twice in one season. This year, he has bolstered his own record.
Back in 2017, Kami became the third person to climb Mt Everest 21 times, equalizing the count with Apa Sherpa and Phurba Tashi Sherpa. Kami Rita, who defines climbing guide as a profession, wants to keep climbing Everest until he makes it 25 times.
“I will not stop climbing until I climb Everest 25 times. Thereafter, I think I will work as base camp manager,” said Kami Rita, the father of two children, before heading to Base Camp for this year's climbing.