Nepalese Sherpa completes record 23rd Everest climb

There are 378 climbers permitted to scale Everest this year alongside sherpas like Kami Rita

KATHMANDU, Nepal-Sherpa climber Kami Rita scaled Mount Everest on Wednesday for a 23rd time, breaking his own record for the most successful ascents of the world's highest peak.

Kami Rita Sherpa, who originally is from Thame of Solukhmbu district, Nepal, scaled the highest mountain in the world at 7: 50 am today from Nepal's side.

Kami Rita has already climbed most of the peaks above 8,000 m including K2, Cho-oyu, Lhoste and Annapurna among others.

"I am still strong and want to climb Sagarmatha 25 times", Kami had told Reuters before leaving for the mountain in March referring to the Nepali name for Everest.

Tashi Lakha Sherpa of Seven Summit treks gushed that Kami Rita's feat was a matter of national pride.

"It would be impossible for many foreign climbers to summit mountains without the help of a Sherpa", said Ang Tshering Sherpa, former president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association. After that tragedy, he came under intense family pressure to quit mountaineering altogether, but in the end decided against it. "Before, I didn't even know that you can set records", said the Sherpa, in the last month, before he left for Everest base camp.

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He said the only other two Sherpas near his record reached the summit 21 times, but have since retired.

Perhaps most important, it is Sherpas who each year fix ropes and ladders over crevasses and icefalls that make things safer for the hundreds of climbers who will follow them.

A total of 378 climbers have been issued permits to climb the mountain this season.

The route taken by him was pioneered by New Zealand's Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay when they became the first climbers to reach the summit in 1953.

Adverse conditions challenge climbers every time, and the previous year saw the death of 5 climbers including an experienced Sherpa guide.

Tourism, which includes mountain climbing, is the main source of income for cash-strapped Nepal, home to eight of the world's 14 highest mountains.

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