On Wednesday, Nepali climber Kami Rita Sherpa reached the summit of Mount Everest for the 27th time, retaking the record for the most summits of the world’s highest mountain.
“He successfully reached the summit this morning guiding a Vietnamese climber,” Mingma Sherpa of Seven Summit Treks, his expedition organiser, told AFP.
The 53-year-old had held the record since 2018, when he ascended Everest for the 22nd time, breaking a tie with two other Sherpa climbers who have since retired.
However, another climber, Pasang Dawa Sherpa, 46, tied the record on Sunday by reaching the summit for the 26th time.
Kami Rita Sherpa, a guide for almost two decades, first summited the 8,848-metre (29,029-foot) peak in 1994 while working for a commercial expedition.
Since then, he has climbed Everest nearly every year, leading the first rope-fixing crew to open the path to the world’s highest point multiple times.
“These records were made not with an intention to make them but during my work as a guide,” Sherpa told AFP last month as he headed to the base camp.
Dubbed “the Everest man”, Sherpa was born in 1970 in Thame, a village in the Himalayas renowned as a breeding ground for successful mountaineers.
Sherpa grew up watching his father and siblings don climbing gear to join excursions as mountain guides, and he soon followed in their footsteps.
In 2019, he scaled the mountain twice in six days.
Nepal has eight of the world’s ten highest peaks and attracts hundreds of adventurers each spring, when temperatures are mild and winds are usually calm.
This year, authorities gave 478 permits to international climbers, with the $11,000 charge being part of the total fees for a summit ranging from $45,000 to $200,000.
Because most will require a guide, more over 900 individuals will attempt to summit this season, which runs through early June.
Nepali guides, mostly ethnic Sherpas from the valleys surrounding Everest, are regarded as the climbing industry’s backbone, taking on enormous risks to transport equipment and food, fix ropes, and repair ladders.