A Nepalese mountain climber has now climbed Mount Everest a record 24 times — and he’s hoping to do it one more time before he retires. Kami Rita Sherpa, 49, has been climbing Everest since 1994.
“It’s also the second time in a week that he’s made the arduous trek,” NPR’s Sushmita Pathak reports from Mumbai. “The 49-year-old Sherpa guide had already broken his own record on May 15, when he scaled the summit for the 23rd time.”
Rita started his most recent climb just three days after his 23rd summit of Everest. Early Tuesday morning, he stepped on the tallest peak in an area known as the roof of the world, leading a team of Indian police officers on the climb, according to The Kathmandu Post.
The highest mountain on Earth, Mount Everest’s summit is more than 29,000 feet above sea level. The first time it was successfully scaled was in 1953 — and the southeast route that was taken by Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay is the same one Rita and many other climbers still use today.
In addition to Everest, Rita has climbed a number of other imposing mountains, including K2 and Cho-Oyu.
Mountaineers who hope to climb Everest have a brief window each May in which weather conditions are most favorable. In the current season, 381 people have received permits to carry out expeditions on the mountain, as part of 44 teams, according to Nepal’s Department of Tourism. Of those climbers, 14 are natives of Nepal.
As of Monday, at least 75 climbers had reached the top of Everest in the current season, according to The Rising Nepal.