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Sherpa guide Kami Rita sets record for most times climbing Mount Everest

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Renowned Sherpa mountain guide Kami Rita scaled Mount Everest for a record 30th time Wednesday, completing his second ascent this month to the top of the world.

Rita reached the 8,849-meter (29,032-foot) summit at 7:49 a.m., according to Khim Lal Gautam, a government official at the base camp.

His first ascent of this year’s climbing season was on May 12, guiding foreign clients.

“He is in good health and happy to have achieved this record,” said Mingma Sherpa of Seven Summits Treks, which organized the expedition.

They were able to speak briefly with him while he was at the summit and he was in good health, Mingma said.

Rita was still descending to the lower camps on the mountain and Mingma confirmed that Rita would not be climbing again this season and would likely travel home in the next few days.

He also climbed Mount Everest twice last year, setting the record for the most ascents of the world’s highest mountain on the first time and extending it less than a week later.

His closest competitor for most ascents of Mount Everest is fellow Sherpa guide Pasang Dawa, who has 27 successful ascents of the mountain.

Rita first climbed Everest in 1994 and has made the trip almost every year since. She is one of many Sherpa guides whose experience and skills are vital to the safety and success each year of foreign climbers seeking to reach the mountain’s summit.

His father was among the first Sherpa guides. In addition to her Everest climbs, Kami Rita has climbed several other peaks that are among the highest in the world, including K2, Cho Oyu, Manaslu and Lhotse.

Officials said more than 450 climbers have already scaled Mount Everest from the southern Nepalese side of the peak this climbing season, which ends in a few days. Most climbing of Everest and nearby Himalayan peaks is done in April and May, when weather conditions are most favorable.

Nepalese authorities issued hundreds of climbing permits to foreign climbers this season, and at least as many local Sherpa guides accompanied them.

The mountain can also be climbed from China. The official Xinhua news agency reported that Wang Jian, 70, reached the summit on Tuesday, becoming the oldest Chinese person to do so.

Everest was first climbed in 1953 by New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay.

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