Veteran Nepalese mountain climber and sherpa, Kami Rita (49), broke his own world record when he summited Mount Everest for the 24th time on Tuesday 21 May.
Not only does he hold the record for the highest number of ascents, but his 23rd and 24th summit (8,848m) happened one after the other in the space of only seven days.
‘This is historic. He made his record climb this morning, guiding a team of Indian police,’ Mingma Sherpa of Seven Summit Treks told AFP on Tuesday.
In 2017 Kami Rita became one of four climbers who all have successfully summited Everest 21 times. Since then two of them have retired from mountaineering, while according to the BBC, ‘the third, 39-year old Ngima Nuru Sherpa, is attempting his 22nd summit from the Chinese side of the mountain this season.’
‘I never thought about making records,’ he told the BBC. ‘I actually never knew that you could make a record. Had I known, I would have made a lot more summits earlier.’
After his descent, following his record-breaking 24th summit, the accomplished climber said, ‘I am very happy and proud, I think I might go up the mountain again this season.’
Also read: SA’s first black female summits Mt. Everest
Kami, whose home village is at the base of the mountain in Nepal, first made it to the top of Everest in 1994 and since then has climbed the mountain every year. His father was a Sherpa guide before him and Kami followed in his footsteps.
Referring to his work as a sherpa, Kami Rita also told the BBC, ‘Sherpas fix ropes all the way to the top. So the Sherpas make their way fixing the ropes and the foreigners give interviews saying Everest is easier, or talk about their courage.
‘But they forget the contribution of the Sherpa. Sherpas have struggled a lot to make it happen. We suffer.’ Kami has advocated for more recognition for sherpas who climb the mountain and help others to summit.
This spring season, 381 people have been granted permits (at $11,000 each) to climb the mountain, which is more than ever before, and so far, 75 climbers have reached the top, including the first black African woman to summit.
The death toll has been high and so far 11 people have died on the mountain. Two fell to their deaths while the others succumbed to exhaustion and the elements.