Everest, Kangshung Face, South Col, North Ridge

Twenty-five ascents of Everest – Kami Rita Sherpa on Top of the World Again

Kami Rita Sherpa has summited Everest again, completing a record breaking 25th ascent, a phenomenal achievement.

He made his first climb of Everest in 1994, and has since made an ascent nearly every year – and in 2019 completed two ascents in the same season. He hopes to move even higher in the record books with a planned ascent with the Royal Bahrain team in the next weeks.

At 51 years of age, he is both a testament to longevity, perhaps some very good luck and very well honed skills and experience.


Kami and his brother Lakpa, who I am fortunate to guide and work with in Antarctica on Mount Vinson.

Kami made his most recent ascent leading the fixing team of 12, as they set the ropes on the final steep slopes up from the South Col, on to the Balcony, up the ridge above, over the South Summit and along to the summit.

If climbing up these slopes is work for the average climber, lugging the new ropes and anchors up and putting them in place makes the summit day doubly challenging. As much as he has been up 25 times now, the route can change significantly year to year.

The first time up every season, there are no tracks, no footsteps to follow and depending on the conditions, you could be on crusty, deep or wading depth snow en-route to the summit.

For many, the summit day on Everest is one that lives in your memory forever.

The phenomena of the worlds’ tallest peak, its shadow suspended at sunrise into the horizon in an ethereal pyramid, is one of the worlds’ great visual treasures.

Over a few ascents along the Everest summit ridge, I had the good fortune to finally get a series of photos at sunrise that make all the many hard steps below worthwhile.

With some good weather and a bit of luck, it’s what a whole host of people will hopefully be climbing up and experiencing soon.

The first hint of sun in the East, from just below the South Summit, Everest. You can pretend it is about to warm up when you see this.

 

Makalu, the worlds fifth tallest mountain, directly East of Everest, catching the first refracted lights of the sun. 
Everest, the summit pyramid just beginning to form in the West at dawn.
The summit pyramid touches the horizon and begins to shrink into the Himalayan Mountains.
The pyramid shrinking into the Khumbu, Pumori the snowcone lower right, rising directly above Base Camp – a very diminutive looking 7,000 meter peak from this height.
Peering around the edge of the Hillary Step, the pyramid of Everest fades into the mountains below.
Looking down the North Ridge and over Tibet from the summit, Everest.

 

The top – a rather clear and wonderous morning. Photo: David Hamilton

 

Just in case you want a poster of your own, here is Ed Webster’s photo from our ascent of the Kangshung Face.

The Frostbite Sunrise from Everest, by Ed Webster. Taken on our ascent of the Kangshung Face.