An undated handout picture showing members of Mount Everest Clean up expedition digging out tents from the snow on the Sagarmatha route on Mount Everest. EPA-PHOTO/EPA/FILE/HARISH TYAGI

Two Sherpa guides race for the title of most climbs of Mount Everest

Kathmandu, May 22 (EFE).- Two Sherpa guides are racing up the planet’s tallest peak to claim the prestigious record for the most Mount Everest summits.

Pasang Dawa Sherpa reached the summit of 8,848.86-meter tall Everest for the 27th time on Monday and equalized the record made by Kami Rita Sherpa, government’s Everest Base Camp coordinator Khim Lal Gautam told Efe.

He reached the summit at 8:25 am local time.

It is a double ascent in a single season for Pasang Dawa, 46.

On May 14, Pasang equalized with Kami Rita Sherpa when he climbed Everest for the 26th time.

But three days later, on May 17, Kami Rita reached the top of Everest for the 27th time and retained his record.

The 53-year-old Kami Rita is now attempting to climb Everest for the 28th time, said Gautam.

“Records are made to be broken. The two Sherpa guides are in fierce competition now,” said Gautam. “It looks like this competition may continue in the coming years too.”

Kami Rita works for Seven Summit Treks.

Tashi Lakpa Sherpa, managing director of Seven Summit Treks, Nepal’s largest expedition outfitter, told Efe that Kami Rita would push for the summit on Monday midnight and reach Tuesday morning.

“He has been mobilised to support an international team.”

Born in Thame, Solukhumbu, Kami Rita, since May 2018, has held the record for most ascents to the summit of Everest.

In 2017, Kami Rita was the third person to ascend to the summit of Everest 21 times, sharing the record with Apa Sherpa and Phurba Tashi Sherpa. The latter two subsequently retired.

Kami Rita’s mountaineering journey began in 1992 when he joined an expedition team to Everest as a porter. He, however, made his first Everest ascent on May 13, 1994, aged 24. Since then, he has been climbing Everest almost every year.

Kami Rita climbed Everest twice in 2009, 2010, 2013, and 2019.

Climbing Everest is his passion.

“There’s a lot of records being broken these days. People think breaking records is the only thing that matters but for me it was never about records in the beginning, it was my necessity to earn a living and when time moved climbing became my passion, I just went with the flow,” Kami Rita wrote on his Instagram page.

“I didn’t realize I was making a historic record. After all this, I still feel and take climbing as my passion.”

Born in Pangboche, a village near the Everest base camp, Pasang Dawa first summited Everest in 1998.

He recorded a single climb on Everest in 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2016 and 2017. He climbed Everest twice in 2001, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2018, 2019 and 2022.

Ang Tshering Sherpa, a mountaineering expert, told Efe that the first dual ascent of Everest was made in 1996 by Phurba Tashi Sherpa and Babu Tshering Sherpa. Since then, most of the year, sherpas made the double ascent.

“There is no limit set by the government to climb Everest. But due to the small window of good weather, time itself is limited for the climbers,” he said. “Sherpas can climb Everest thrice in a single season but it’s risky.”

Ang Tshering, the former president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, said the competition was not good, at least when you are 8,848 meters high from sea level.

“But everyone likes to make the record, be it 16 or 84 years old. It’s a human desire.”

Nepal’s Department of Tourism has issued Everest climbing permits for a record 478 fee-paying individuals this year.

According to Gautam, Everest has already claimed 12 lives this season. Scores were injured.

A climbing permit for Everest costs $11,000 for foreigners and $572 for Nepalis.

Nepali high-altitude sherpa guides assisting climbers are not required to pay fees.

Nearly 7,000 mountaineers have climbed Everest from Nepal after Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and New Zealander Edmund Hillary first set foot atop the world’s highest peak in May 1953. EFE