Nepali sherpa becomes world’s second person to scale Everest 26 times
By Gopal Sharma
KATHMANDU (Reuters) - A Nepali sherpa guide climbed Mount Everest for the 26th time on Sunday, hiking officials said, becoming the world’s second person to achieve the feat.
Pasang Dawa Sherpa, 46, stood atop the 8,849-m (29,032-ft) peak, sharing the record number of summits with Kami Rita Sherpa, said Bigyan Koirala, a government tourism official.
Kami Rita, who is also climbing on Everest now, could set another record if he makes it to the top.
Pasang Dawa reached the top with a Hungarian client, said an official of his employer Imagine Nepal Treks, a hiking company.
"They are descending from the top now and are in good shape," the official, Dawa Futi Sherpa, told Reuters.
Sherpas, who mostly use their first names, are known for their climbing skills and make a living mainly by guiding foreign clients in the mountains.
Dawa Futi said a Pakistani woman, Naila Kiani, who also climbed the peak on Sunday, was the first foreign climber to summit Everest in this year’s climbing season, which runs from March to May.
This could not be independently confirmed as many foreign climbers are now headed for the peak, a day after the ropes to the top were fixed.
Kiani, a 37-year-old banker based in Dubai, had climbed four of the world's 14 highest mountains before Everest, the Himalayan Times newspaper said.
Nepal has issued a record of 467 permits this year for foreign climbers seeking to reach the summit of Everest.
Each climber is usually accompanied by at least one sherpa guide, fuelling fears that a narrow section below the summit, known as the Hillary Step, could get crowded.
Everest has been climbed more than 11,000 times since it was first scaled by Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953, with about 320 people dying in the effort, according to a Himalayan database and Nepali officials.
(Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)