Nepalese Sherpa Kami Rita scales Mount Everest for record 25th time
The mountaineer is among the first climbers to scale Everest's new summit height, almost a metre higher than previously recorded
A Nepalese mountain guide has broken his own record for the most summits of the world's highest peak.
Kami Rita, 51, a Sherpa, successfully scaled Mount Everest on Friday. It was the veteran mountaineer's 25th trip to the peak of the mountain.
Rita is also one of the first climbers to reach the new altitude – 0.86 metres higher – of the world's highest mountain. It was officially changed last year, after Nepal and China jointly announced an updated height of 8,848.86 metres.
Joined by 11 other Sherpas, all Nepalese, Rita and his team were tasked with fixing ropes on the mountain's icy passes to allow other climbers to attempt to reach the summit of Everest later this month.
As part of a team from Seven Summit Treks, under the management of Expedition Operators of Nepal, the Sherpas reached the summit of the 50-million-year-old mountain at 6pm on Friday.
"I may have achieved my lifelong dream of climbing Everest for the 25th time, but there is much more to go. This marks the beginning of a new era," Rita wrote on Instagram.
The Sherpa has been climbing Everest for 27 years, having first ascended in 1994. On Saturday, he wrote on Facebook that he and the team had made it successfully back to base camp.
Nicknamed Thapke, Rita has a Guinness World Record for the most summits of Everest, which he was awarded on May 21, 2019, after tackling the mountain for the 24th time. That achievement came less than a week after his 23rd summit of Everest on May 15, 2019.
The global pandemic has meant the mountaineer had to wait two years to be able to make his 25th record-breaking summit attempt. With the ropes now in place, however, the 2021 summit route is officially open.
Mount Everest was closed to climbers last year because of coronavirus. This year, Nepal has issued a limited number of climbing permits for those hoping to summit the peak. To date, more than 400 permits have been issued to foreigners planning to climb Everest's southern side.
The north side, which is located in China, remains largely restricted, with only a handful of permits being issued and strict Covid-19 testing measures in place.
Bahraini prince eyes Everest summit
Among the mountaineers hoping to scale the world's highest summit this year is Bahraini Prince Mohamed Hamad Mohamed Al Khalifa.
The royal is part of a team of 16 climbers and 30 Sherpa guides planning to reach the mountain's peak.
Prince Mohamed has already summited Mount Manaslu (8,163 metres) and Mount Lobuche (6,119 metres) in the Himalayas, during the pandemic. The outdoor enthusiast transported 2,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to Nepal in March.
Covid-19 on the world's highest mountain
The pandemic has also reached Mount Everest. Last week, mountaineers and authorities at Everest base camp confirmed to the BBC that they had seen a rising number of climbers with Covid-19 symptoms and an increase in positive tests.
Nepalese authorities have not verified the information, but the country is battling a second wave of infections. Kathmandu Valley and several other districts are currently under lockdown to try to slow the spread of the virus.
Updated: May 9, 2021 01:36 PM