Nepali climber Kami Rita Sherpa scaled Mount Everest for the 25th time on Friday, breaking his own record for the most times on top of the world's tallest mountain.
Kami was part of a 12-person team fixing the ropes to the summit. He was the first of hundreds of climbers expected to make it to the top in the coming weeks.
Kami has served as a guide for more than two decades. He first stood atop the8,849 meter (29,032 feet) high mountain in 1994 as part of a commercial expedition. He has gone up to the top almost every year since.
'I will make my dream come true'
"It isn't about breaking records…my aim was to celebrate my silver jubliee by climbing 25 times in 2020 at the age of 50, but COVID didn't let that happen. So this year I will make my dream come true," Kami told AFP news agency at base camp before his ascent.
The climber has also made his name on other mountains, including summiting the world's second-highest peak, K2, in Pakistan. He plans to go back to the summit later this year, as a guide for a royal Bahrain team.
"I climb for my nation. Guides like us are necessary for the tourism sector of Nepal. Without us, foreigners wouldn't come," said Kami.
Nepal issued a record 408 permits for Everest's peak season this year, which runs from April to May. Permits to climb cost $11,000 (9,040 euros) each. Most climbers are assisted by a Nepali guide, meaning more than 800 climbers are expected to trek the same patch to the top in the next few weeks.
Climbers are required to show a negative COVID-19 test before going to the mountain, according to Nepali rules. But reports of some cases have raised concerns that peak season may be ruined.
kbd/aw (AFP, Reuters)