Expert Nepali Sherpa Kami Rita scales Mount Everest for world record 26th time

A Nepali Sherpa has scaled Mount Everest for a record 26th time, beating his own previous record, a government official says.

Kami Rita Sherpa, 52, scaled the 8,848-metre mountain on Saturday along the traditional south-east ridge route, leading 10 other Sherpa climbers.

"Kami Rita has broken his own record and established a new world record in climbing," said Taranath Adhikari, director general of the Department of Tourism in Nepal's capital, Kathmandu.

Kami Rita's wife, who gave her name as Jangmu said she was pleased with her husband's achievement.

Kami Rita and the other Sherpa guides reached the summit without any problems and safely returned to lower camps, said Mingma of the Kathmandu-based Seven Summit Treks.

The group reached the summit around 7pm local time on Saturday, which is late by Everest climbing standards.

At night, there is risk of weather conditions deteriorating and climbers losing their way during the descent.

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

He is one of many Sherpa guides whose expertise and skills are vital to the safety and success of the foreign climbers who head to Nepal each year seeking to stand on top of the mountain.

His father was among the first Sherpa guides, and Kami Rita followed in his footsteps and then some.

In addition to his 26 treks to the top of Everest, he has scaled several other peaks that are among the world's highest, including K-2, Cho-Oyu, Manaslu and Lhotse.

There are hundreds of foreign climbers and an equal number of Sherpa guides who will attempt to climb Everest this month.

This year Nepal has issued 316 permits to climb Everest in the peak season, which runs through May, compared with 408 last year, the highest ever.

May is the best month to climb Everest, as it has the best weather conditions.

There are generally only a couple of windows for good weather on the highest section of the mountain that enable climbers to reach the summit.

The climbing route used by Kami Rita was pioneered by New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepal's Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953 and remains the most popular.

The Himalayan nation, which is heavily reliant on climbers for foreign exchange, has faced criticism for allowing overcrowding and several climber deaths on the mountain in 2019.

Everest has been climbed 10,657 times since it was first scaled in 1953 from Nepali and Tibetan sides — many have climbed multiple times, and 311 people have died so far, according to a Himalayan database.