A Nepalese Sherpa guide has scaled Mount Everest . . . yet again. On Sunday, Kami Rita broke his own record for the most climbs of the world’s highest peak, according to expedition organizers. It was Rita’s 26th summiting.
Kami Rita reached the 29,032-foot pinnacle on Saturday evening. He led a group of Sherpa climbers who fixed ropes along the route so that hundreds of other climbers and guides can make their way to the top of the mountain later this month. (Read more about Kami Rita in In the Shadow of Everest.)
Rita and 10 other Sherpa guides reached the summit without any problems and safely returned to lower camps, says Mingma Sherpa of the Kathmandu-based Seven Summit Treks. He says the guides who set the ropes were all highly experienced climbers.
The group reached the world’s highest point around 7 p.m. on Saturday. That is late by Everest climbing standards. At night, climbers can lose their way as they trek down. There is also considerable risk of worsening weather conditions.
Hundreds of foreign climbers and an equal number of Sherpa guides will attempt to climb Everest this month. May is the best month for climbers since it usually features the optimal weather conditions. There are only a couple of windows for good weather on the highest section of the mountain in May. Those times of lowest wind can enable climbers to reach the summit.
Rita, 52, first scaled Everest in 1994. He has made the trip nearly every year since. He is one of many Sherpa guides whose expertise and skills are vital to the safety and success of the foreign climbers who head to Nepal each year seeking to stand on top of the world.
Rita’s father was among the first Sherpa guides. Rita followed in his footsteps and beyond. In addition to his 26 times to the top of Everest, Rita has scaled several other peaks that are among the world’s highest, including K-2, Cho-Oyu, Manaslu, and Lhotse.
Most climbing enthusiasts fear the day that Sherpa guides like Rita stop guiding climbers up the world’s highest peaks. After all, Rita and other guides say they want their children to find safer jobs.
“Climbing is like going on a battle,” Rita told an Australia television station in 2019. “You don’t know whether you’ll return alive.”
You do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. — James 4:14
(Veteran Sherpa guide Kami Rita, who returned from the mountains on a helicopter, arrives at the airport in Kathmandu, Nepal, on May 25, 2021. AP/Bikram Rai)