Two Sherpas race in thin air for prestigious world recordPasang Dawa summited Everest for the 27th time on Monday morning. Kami Rita plans his 28th climb on Tuesday morning to reclaim the title for most ascents.
At 8,848.86 metres above sea level, the race is on. It’s Sherpa Vs Sherpa.
Two prominent high-altitude climbing guides are racing on the planet’s tallest peak to claim the prestigious record—the most ascents of Everest by any individual.
Pasang Dawa Sherpa, 46, reached the Everest summit for the 27th time on Monday morning.
This equals the record made by Kami Rita Sherpa, 53.
The race is on. Kami Rita is now on the higher camps of Everest to make his 28th ascent.
Khim Lal Gautam, base camp coordinator of the government, said Pasang Dawa reached the summit of Everest at 8:25 am on Monday. “While his group quit at the higher reaches of Everest, Pasang continued.”
This was Pasang Dawa’s double ascent in a single season this year.
“Kami Rita left the base camp on Sunday and will reach Camp IV on Monday from where he will begin the final summit push,” said Gautam.
“Obviously, they are making one record after another. Records are made to be broken,” Gautam told the Post from the base camp over the phone.
On May 14, Pasang equalised with Kami Rita Sherpa when he climbed Everest for the 26th time.
But three days later, on May 17, Kami Rita reached the top of Everest for the 27th time and reclaimed the record for most climbs of Everest.
Kami Rita works for Seven Summit Treks.
Tashi Lakpa Sherpa, managing director of Seven Summit Treks, Nepal’s largest expedition outfitter, said Kami Rita is expected to reach the summit of Everest on Tuesday morning.
“He has been mobilised to support an international team.” Tashi Lakpa, however, did not comment on the record.
Ang Tshering Sherpa, a mountaineering expert, said there are no climbing limits set on Everest, except for the lower age—that is below 16.
“I haven’t heard anyone climbing thrice in a single season,” he said. “There are multiple double climbs, though.”
According to Ang Tshering, the former president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, the first dual ascent of Everest was made in 1996, by Phurba Tashi Sherpa and Babu Tshering Sherpa.
Since then, for most of the years, sherpas have made double ascents.
Sherpa climbers say that Everest is special because of its limited window of good weather.
“That makes climbing difficult and risky,” said the former president of the association. “Sherpa, too, are exhausted while climbing in a limited timeframe.”
“The ongoing record-breaking spree between two Sherpas, though is not good, it’s human nature to make and break records.”
Born in Thame, Solukhumbu, Kami Rita, since May 2018, had held the record for most ascents to the summit of Everest until Monday.
In 2017, Kami Rita became the third person to reach the summit of Everest 21 times.
Before Kami Rita, the race was going between Apa Sherpa and Phurba Tashi Sherpa. Both of them subsequently retired.
Kami Rita’s mountaineering journey began in 1992 when he joined an expedition team to Everest as a porter. He, however, made his first Everest ascent on May 13, 1994, aged 24.
Since then, he has been climbing Everest almost every year.
Kami Rita climbed Everest twice in 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2019.
He says climbing Everest is his passion.
“There’s a lot of records being broken these days. People think breaking records is the only thing that matters but for me it was never about records in the beginning, it was my necessity to earn a living and when time moved climbing became my passion, I just went with the flow,” the veteran Everesteer wrote on his Instagram page.
“I didn’t realise I was making a historic record. After all this, I still feel and take climbing as my passion.”
Pasang Dawa came into the limelight after he made double ascents for two consecutive years—in 2018 and 2019. Everest was closed in 2020 due to the pandemic. In 2022, Pasang Dawa again made a double ascent.
Born in Pangboche, a village near the Everest base camp, Pasang Dawa first summited Everest in 1998.
He recorded a single climb on Everest in 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2016 and 2017.
He climbed Everest twice in 2001, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2018, 2019 and 2022.
This year, Nepal’s Department of Tourism has issued Everest climbing permits for a record 478 fee-paying individuals.
According to Gautam, the base camp coordinator, Everest has already claimed 12 lives this season and scores have been injured due to erratic weather.
A climbing permit for Everest costs $11,000 for a foreigner and Rs75,000 for a Nepali.
Nepali high-altitude sherpa guides assisting climbers are not required to pay fees.
Nearly 7,000 mountaineers have climbed Everest from the Nepal side since Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and New Zealander Edmund Hillary first set foot atop the world’s highest peak in May 1953.