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Sherpa guide breaks own record scaling Everest for 26th time

52-year-old Kami Rita is also following a family tradition.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this May 20, 2018, file photo, Nepalese veteran Sherpa guide, Kami Rita waves as he arrives in Kathmandu, Nepal. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha, File)

KATHMANDU, Nepal — An experienced Nepalese Sherpa guide scaled Mount Everest for the 26th time breaking his own record for the most climbs of the world's highest peak, expedition organizers said Sunday.

Kami Rita reached the 29,032-foot summit on Saturday evening leading 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.

Rita and 10 other Sherpa guides reached the summit without any problems and had safely returned to lower camps, said Mingma Sherpa of the Kathmandu-based Seven Summit Treks.

The group reached the summit around 7 p.m. on Saturday, which by Everest climbing standards is late. At night, there is risk of weather conditions deteriorating and climbers losing their way on the way down.

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Sherpa said the guides were all highly experienced climbers.

There are hundreds of foreign climbers and an equal number of Sherpa guides who will attempt to climb Everest this month. May is the best month to climb Everest since it has the best weather conditions. There are generally only a couple of windows for good weather on the highest section of the mountain in May that enable climbers to reach the summit.

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Rita, 52, first scaled Everest in 1994 and has been making the trip nearly every year since then. 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 mountain.

His father was among the first Sherpa guides, and Rita followed in his footsteps and then some. 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.