Every May, there is a window of good weather near the summit of Mount Everest. During that time of lower winds and higher temps, adventuresome climbers can attempt to scale the peak. For many it is a once-in-a-lifetime achievement. This week, one Sherpa climber broke his own record for most successful Everest climbs. He's hoping his achievement gains attention for his people and his country.
Kami Rita reached the 29,035-foot summit on Wednesday morning. The climb was his 23rd—two more than his closest competitor. (See “In the Shadow of Everest” in WORLDteen.)
Rita, 49, first scaled Everest in 1994. He’s been making the trip nearly every year since. He is one of many Sherpa guides whose expertise is vital to the safety and success of hundreds of climbers who seek to stand on top of the world.
Before climbers reach the summit to take selfies announcing their success, there are months of hard work done by Sherpas. The Sherpas set up the camps, carry loads on their backs, cook food, and lug oxygen tanks. Perhaps most importantly, it is Sherpas who each year fix the ropes and ladders over crevasses and icefalls that make climbing safer for the climbers who will follow them.
Again this year, a team of Sherpa guides reached Everest’s summit a day before the other climbers—setting up ropes and lines to make the passage safe for those who came behind.
Rita has been an advocate for other Sherpa guides, who he said do not get the recognition they are due. “When these climbers reach the summit, only their names are highlighted and nothing mentioned about the hard work done by the Sherpas,” Rita says.
Why does Rita keep climbing? “It is my profession, but at the same time I am setting new world record for Nepal too.”
(Kami Rita waves as he arrives in Kathmandu, Nepal. Rita has broken his own record for the most successful ascents of the world's highest peak. AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha, File)