A Nepalese Sherpa mountain guide has regained the record for most climbs of Mount Everest. On Wednesday morning, 53-year-old Kami Rita Sherpa reached the top of the 8,849-meter mountain for the 27th time. He was guiding a climber along the traditional southern route.
Three days earlier, another Nepali, Pasang Dawa Sherpa, reached the top for the 26th time, tying Kami Rita’s earlier record, set last year.
The season’s first groups of climbers reached the summit over the weekend. Earlier, Sherpa guides had placed ropes and made paths for the hundreds of people expected during the climbing season.
May is the best month to climb Everest because of weather conditions. But there are only a few time periods during the month with good weather on the highest part of the mountain. After May, the summer rainy season arrives, bringing snow and clouds. This makes the mountain too dangerous to climb.
Climbers generally reach Everest base camp in April. They spend the next weeks training to prepare their bodies for the extreme altitude.
To prepare the path up the mountain, Sherpas begin placing, or “fixing” ropes, at the end of March or early April.
By the first or second week of May, climbers are usually trying to reach the top. However, this year’s climbing was delayed after an accident with three Sherpas. They fell into a deep hole in the ice in the dangerous Khumbu Ice Fall area above base camp. Rescuers have not been able to find them.
This year the Nepali government issued a record 478 permits to climb Everest. Critics say this is dangerous. They argue that some of the climbers are inexperienced and that the path near the mountain’s top can become too crowded. This can slow movement and increase the risk of dying.
In 2019, nine exhausted climbers died on Everest after lines built up of climbers going up and down.
Kami Rita first climbed Everest in 1994 and has been making the trip nearly every year since then.
Sherpas are known for their climbing skills, and many make a living guiding foreign clients up Everest and other mountains.
Garrett Madison of the U.S.-based Madison Mountaineering company has climbed Everest 12 times. Five of these climbs were with Kami Rita. Speaking by telephone from Everest base camp, he told Reuters it was "very inspirational to see a local climber continue pushing the limits on Mount Everest."
Kami Rita’s father was among the first Sherpa guides. In addition to Everest, Rita has climbed several other peaks that are among the world’s highest, including K-2, Cho-Oyu, Manaslu and Lhotse.
I’m Andrew Smith.
Andrew Smith adapted this story for VOA Learning English from reporting by Reuters and The Associated Press.
Words in This Story
summit -n. the highest point on a mountain, or the highest level of achievement in a certain field
altitude -n. the height above sea level
inspirational -adj. giving a strong feeling of enthusiasm or admiration
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