Sherpa guide climbs Everest 24th time, outdoing own record

FILE - In this May 20, 2018, file photo, Nepalese veteran Sherpa guide, Kami Rita, 48, waves as he arrives in Kathmandu, Nepal. The Sherpa mountaineer extended his record for successful climbs of Mount Everest with his 24th ascent of the world's highest peak on Tuesday, May 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha, File)

KATHMANDU, Nepal — A Sherpa mountaineer extended his record for successful climbs of Mount Everest with his 24th ascent of the world's highest peak on Tuesday.

Kami Rita reached the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak Tuesday, which was his second time on the summit in a week. He climbed to the top on May 15 then returned to base camp before climbing again this week.

Nepal Department of Tourism official Mira Acharya said Rita reached the summit on Tuesday along with several other climbers taking advantage of favorable weather.

There are 41 teams with a total of 378 climbers permitted to scale Everest during the spring climbing season. An equal number of Nepalese guides are helping them to get to the summit.

Several climbers have already, while dozens are expected to make their attempt this week.

Only a few windows of good weather each May allow climbers the best chance of summiting Everest.

Tuesday's climb brings Rita, 49, closer to his target of 25 ascents of Everest before he retires from high mountain climbing.

Rita's two closest peers have climbed the peak 21 times each, but both of them have retired from mountain climbing.

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

His father was among the first Sherpa guides employed to help climbers reach the summit, and Rita followed in his footsteps and then some. In addition to his nearly two dozen summits of Everest, Rita has scaled some of the other highest mountains, K-2, Cho-Oyu, Manaslu and Lhotse.

Sherpa tribespeople were mostly yak herders and traders living deep within the Himalayas until Nepal opened its borders in the 1950s. Their stamina and familiarity with the mountains quickly made them sought-after guides and porters.

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