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Hero’s welcome for record-breaking Everest guide

Kami Rita climbed to the summit twice this week.

Kami Rita is welcomed by his wife at the airport in Kathmandu (Niranjan Shrestha/AP)
Kami Rita is welcomed by his wife at the airport in Kathmandu (Niranjan Shrestha/AP)

Family, friends and supporters have welcomed a veteran Sherpa guide on his return to Nepal’s capital, days after his 24th climb of Mount Everest extended his record.

Kami Rita flew back from Everest to Kathmandu, where he was greeted by the waiting crowd at the airport.

His wife hugged him and the crowd covered him with a cream-coloured scarf and offered him yoghurt.

The brief celebration at the airport was followed by Mr Rita riding on a truck waving to supporters as has was driven out of the airport.

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Well-wishers wait to welcome veteran Sherpa guide Kami Rita (Niranjan Shrestha/AP)

He told reporters he was very happy but exhausted.

Mr Rita reached Everest’s 8,850m (29,035ft) peak on Tuesday, the second time he had climbed to the summit in a week.

The climbs bring Mr Rita, 49, closer to his target of 25 ascents of Everest before he retires from high mountain climbing. His two closest peers have climbed Everest 21 times each, but both of them have retired.

There are 41 teams with a total of 378 climbers permitted to scale Everest during the spring climbing season. An equal number of Nepalese guides are helping them get to the summit.

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A warm welcome for Kami Rita (Niranjan Shrestha/AP)

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

His father was among the first Sherpa guides employed to help climbers reach the summit, and Mr Rita followed in his footsteps. In addition to his two dozen summits of Everest, Mr Rita has scaled some of the other highest mountains, including K-2, Cho-Oyu, Manaslu and Lhotse.

Sherpa tribespeople were mostly yak herders and traders living deep within the Himalayas until Nepal opened its borders in the 1950s. Their stamina and familiarity with the mountains quickly made them sought-after guides and porters.

PA

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