Most of us can only dream of reaching the top of the world once in our lifetimes, but this Sherpa just extended his record for successful climbs of Mount Everest with his 25th ascent of the world’s highest peak on Friday.
Kami Rita reached the 29,032-foot peak with eleven other Sherpas at around 6 pm, a tourism official said. The group was the first from this year’s climbing season to reach the summit. They climbed the mountain to fix the route’s ropes before the hundreds of climbers make it to the top over the coming weeks. The mountain was closed last year due to the covid-19 pandemic.
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The climb brings Rita, 51, to his target of 25 ascents before he retires from high mountain climbing. His two closest peers have each climbed the peak 21 times each, but both of them have retired from mountain climbing.
“It isn’t about breaking records… my aim was to celebrate my silver jubilee by climbing 25 times in 2020 at the age of 50, but COVID didn’t let that happen. So this year I will make my dream come true.”
Kami told AFP news agency at base camp before his ascent
Following his father’s footsteps, one of the first Sherpa guides to be employed to help climbers, Rita first scaled Everest in 1994 and has been making the trip nearly every year since.
Nepal has granted a record 408 climbing permits this year. Permits cost $11,000 each, and climbers must show a negative COVID-19 test before going to the mountain. China has said it will allow “a few dozen,” who will be tested and must socially distance on the way up.