A Nepalese Sherpa has reached the summit of Mount Everest for the 23rd time, extending his record for the most successful ascents of the world's highest peak and the first climb of the 2019 season.
Rita has been climbing Mt. Everest since 1994.
Nepal has issued a record 378 permits costing Dollars 11,000 each to mountaineers for this year's spring climbing season, sparking fears of overcrowding if the weather cuts down the number of climbing days.
Kami Rita Sherpa, a native of Thame village located in the shadow of Mount Everest, reached the 8,850-metre (29,035-feet) summit via the Southeast Ridge route, accompanied by another sherpa, tourism department official Mira Acharya said from the base camp.
"Breaking his own record of 22 successful ascents of Everest, Kami Rita now became the only man on the planet to climb Everest for 23 times", read the Facebook page of Seven Summit Treks.
Rita says he will try and climb the peak two more times.
"I have a goal to climb Everest for 25th time - or maybe more than that", he told Efe news in April before leaving for his expedition.
Acharya said Rita, who goes by his first name Kami, reached the top at 7:50am (02:05 GMT) and is now descending to lower camps. "I am like a soldier who leaves behind their wives, children and family to battle for the pride of the country".
21st times Everest summiteer Apa Sherpa and Phurwa Tashi Sherpa have already taken retirement from climbing. The mountain also claimed the lives of five climbers, including an experienced Sherpa guide who was knocked down a crevasse by a rescue helicopter.
Sherpa tribespeople were mostly yak herders and traders living deep within the Himalayas until Nepal opened its borders in the 1950s.
He said that before climbers reach the summit to take their photographs announcing their success, there are months of hard work done by Sherpas.
Spring is considered as the most popular climbing season in Nepal because of favourable weather conditions.
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