Asia

Sherpa climbs Everest twice in a week, setting record 24 ascents

Kami Rita Sherpa Image copyright AFP
Image caption Kami Rita Sherpa pictured at the top during his 23rd summit

A Nepalese Sherpa has set a new Mount Everest record, making it to the top for the 24th time - with his second summit in only seven days.

Kami Rita Sherpa, 49, successfully scaled the world's tallest mountain on Tuesday morning.

It was his second record in seven days, having reached the summit for the 23rd time on 15 May.

He says he has no plans to retire, and hopes to clock up more ascents in the years to come.

"I can climb for a few more years," he told the BBC before the 23rd attempt one week ago. "I am healthy - I can keep going until I am 60 years old. With oxygen it's no big deal."

He first climbed Everest in 1994 and is a guide for international companies that organise climbing expeditions.

"I never thought about making records," he said. "I actually never knew that you could make a record. Had I known, I would have made a lot more summits earlier."

Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption The summit of Everest stands at 8,848m (29,029ft)

Foreign mountaineers usually climb Everest with the help of experienced Sherpas who work as guides preparing the route, fixing ropes and carrying supplies and oxygen.

"Sherpas fix ropes all the way to the top," Kami Rita explained. "So the Sherpas make their way fixing the ropes and the foreigners give interviews saying Everest is easier, or talk about their courage.

"But they forget the contribution of the Sherpa. Sherpas have struggled a lot to make it happen. We suffer."

He added: "In every mountain there is a goddess. It's our responsibly to keep the goddess happy. Months before I start an ascent I start worshipping and ask for forgiveness because I will have to put my feet on her body."

On the list of the highest number of Everest ascents, Kami Rita Sherpa is trailed by three climbers who all have 21 successful ascents each.

Two of them have retired from mountaineering, while the third, 39-year old Ngima Nuru Sherpa, is attempting his 22nd summit from the Chinese side of the mountain this season.

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