Kami Rita in Nepal in 2015
Kami Rita in Nepal in 2015

Kami Rita Sherpa Ties Everest Summit Record

The longtime guide with Alpine Ascents summited for the 21st time on May 27, tying Apa Sherpa and Phurba Tashi for the most summits on the world's highest mountain

The Alpine Ascents team at the summit of Everest.

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At 8:15 a.m. in Nepal, Kami Rita Sherpa stood on top of Everest for the 21st time. He tied a record held by Apa Sherpa and Phurba Tashi Sherpa.

Kami Rita, 47, is a longtime guide with Alpine Ascents, a Seattle-based outfitter. He led a team of 11 other climbers to the summit early on the morning of May 27th. According to Alpine Ascents sirdar Lakpa Rita, a 17-time summiter and Kami Rita's brother, the team left Camp IV for the summit at 11 p.m. on May 26. “Weather at this movement [sic] is clear and calm. Everyone is strong and well rested,” he wrote on his Facebook page. The team reached the Balcony, a relatively flat area near the summit, at approximately 3:28 a.m. “They report they are moving very well,” wrote Lakpa Rita. They summited just under five hours later. 

The Alpine Ascents team at the summit of Everest.
The Alpine Ascents team at the summit of Everest. (Alpine Ascents/Facebook)

Kami Rita grew up in Thame, a village in the Khumbu Valley, which climbers pass through on the way to Everest Base Camp. His brother Lakpa Rita began working for Alpine Ascents after meeting owner Todd Burleson in 1990. The two brothers have since spent decades working for Alpine Ascents, organizing expeditions and leading climbers to the top of the world.

His 21st summit ties him with Phurba Tashi, who made his record-setting summit in 2013, and Apa Sherpa, who made his in 2011 and then reportedly promised his wife he would not climb the mountain again.