Sherpa guide Kami Rita climbs Mount Everest for his record 30th time, his second one this month

FILE- Veteran Sherpa guide Kami Rita returning after scaling Mount Everest for the 28th time arrives at the airport in Kathmandu, Nepal, May 25, 2023. Kami Rita scaled Mount Everest for a record 30th time Wednesday, completing his second climb this month to the top of the world. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha, File)

KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Renowned Sherpa mountain guide Kami Rita scaled Mount Everest for a record 30th time Wednesday, completing his second climb this month to the top of the world.

Rita reached the 8,849-meter (29,032-foot) summit at 7:49 a.m., according to Khim Lal Gautam, a government official at the base camp.

His first ascent of this year's climbing season was on May 12 guiding foreign clients.

“He is in good health and happy to have achieved this record,” said Mingma Sherpa of the expedition Seven Summits Treks, which organized the expedition.

They were able to briefly speak to him while he was on the summit and was in good health condition, Mingma said.

Rita was still descending to the lower camps on the mountain, and Mingma confirmed Rita would not be climbing again this season and likely would travel home in the next few days.

He also climbed Mount Everest twice last year, setting the record for most climbs of the world's highest mountain on the first and extending it less than a week later.

His closest competitor for the most climbs of Mount Everest is fellow Sherpa guide Pasang Dawa, who has 27 successful ascents of the mountain.

Rita first climbed 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 each year of foreign climbers who seek to stand on top of the mountain.

His father was among the first Sherpa guides. In addition to his Everest climbs, Kami Rita has scaled several other peaks that are among the world’s highest, including K2, Cho Oyu, Manaslu and Lhotse.

Officials said more than 450 climbers have already scaled Mount Everest from the Nepali side of the peak in the south this climbing season, which ends in a few days. Most climbing of Everest and nearby Himalayan peaks is done in April and May when weather conditions are most favorable.

Nepalese authorities issued hundreds of climbing permits to foreign climbers this season, and at least as many local Sherpa guides were accompanying them.

The mountain can also be climbed from China. The official Xinhua news agency reported 70-year-old Wang Jian reached the summit Tuesday, becoming the oldest Chinese person to do so.

Everest was first climbed in 1953 by New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Nepali Sherpa Tenzing Norgay.