KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — One of the greatest mountain guides regained his title for the most climbs of Mount Everest after scaling the peak for the 27th time on Wednesday, just three days after a fellow Sherpa climber had equalled his previous record.
Kami Rita, 53, reached the 8,849-meter (29,032-foot) summit guiding a group of climbers on the world’s highest mountain, and was safe and in good health, said Mingma Sherpa of the Kathmandu-based Seven Summit Treks.
A fellow Nepali Sherpa guide Pasang Dawa scaled the peak on Sunday for the 26th time, equalling Kami Rita’s record last year.
The season’s first wave of climbers reached the summit over the weekend as Sherpa guides fixed ropes and made paths for the hundreds who will attempt to scale the peak over the remaining days of May.
May is the best month to climb Everest since it has the best weather conditions. There are generally only a couple of windows with good weather on the highest section of the mountain in May that enable climbers to reach the summit.
After the end of May, the weather on the mountain deteriorates and climbing becomes dangerous.
Climbers generally reach the Everest base camp in April and spend weeks acclimatizing to the high altitude, rough terrain and thin air before they go up the summit.
By the first or second week of May, they are usually making attempts for the summit. This year’s climbing, however, was slightly delayed after three Sherpa climbers fell into a deep crevasse on a treacherous section of the mountain in April. Rescuers have not been able to find them.
A rush for the summit is expected in the next couple of weeks. Nepalese authorities have issued nearly 470 permits for Everest this spring.
Kami Rita first scaled Everest in 1994, and has been making the trip nearly every year since then. He is one of many Sherpa guides whose expertise and skills are vital to the safety and success of foreign climbers who seek to stand on top of the mountain every year.
His father was among the first Sherpa guides. In addition to his Everest climbs, Rita has scaled several other peaks that are among the world’s highest, including K-2, Cho-Oyu, Manaslu and Lhotse.