Record-breaking Everest Sherpa Kami Rita is not done yet

Kami Rita returned to Kathmandu on Sunday and was welcomed by friends and supporters who gave him flowers and traditional scarves.

As he reached the summit of the world’s highest peak on Wednesday, Mr Rita broke the records of two other Sherpa guides who had climbed it 21 times.

Those two Sherpas then retired, but 48-year-old Mr Rita has said he wants to reach the summit at least 25 times.

The route he and the 13 others in his group took this time was the same taken by New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, the first climbers to conquer Everest in 1953.

Mr Rita was 24 when he first climbed Mt Everest in 1994 and he has climbed the 8,850m (29,035ft) mountain almost every year since then.

His father was one of the first professional guides after Nepal opened to foreign mountaineers in 1950.

Most of Mr Rita’s male relatives have reached the top at least once and his brother has done it 17 times.

In an earlier interview with the Kathmandu Post, Mr Rita said: “My father was not educated, and I didn’t attend school due to our weak financial position. So I became a climbing guide.

“The chances of survival on the world’s tallest mountain are always 50/50.”

Mr Rita is among a dwindling number of Sherpa guides, people who come from the valleys around Everest and have a unique ability to work in the low-oxygen and high-altitude environment.

The Sherpas are in high demand and can make many thousands of pounds during Everest’s annual 45-day climbing window.

But, with the number of visitors wanting to climb Everest more than doubling in two decades and more than 340 foreign climbers trying to climb Everest this month alone, the number of Sherpa guides has not kept up.

Many of the most experienced are retiring, while some have been lured away from Nepal by other mountaineering countries.

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