Kami Rita Sherpa, a celebrated Nepali mountaineer, has etched his name into mountaineering history with an awe-inspiring record of summiting Mount Everest 28 times. Born and raised in the village of Thame, located in Nepal’s Solukhumbu district, Kami Rita’s journey began as a young porter, traversing treacherous terrains to support Everest expeditions to base camp.
Since May 2018, he has held the esteemed title of the climber with the most ascents of Mount Everest. His unparalleled dedication to scaling the world’s highest peak has not only earned him global recognition but also serves as an inspiration to his fellow Sherpas, his cherished family, and his beloved country, Nepal. Through countless challenges and triumphs, Kami Rita Sherpa has epitomized the true spirit of mountaineering with his remarkable 28 successful summits of Mount Everest.
This blog recounts the life of Kami Rita Sherpa as well as his mountaineering accomplishments.
Kami Rita Sherpa’s Background:
Kami Rita Sherpa, born on 17 January 1970 in Thame, Solukhumbu District, Nepal, is a renowned Nepali Sherpa guide. Since May 2018, he has held the record for the most ascents of Mount Everest. With 23 May 2023, marking his 28th successful ascent, breaking his own record set on 17 May 2023 – just six days before.
Kami Rita’s father was among the first professional Sherpa guides when Everest opened to foreign mountaineers in 1950, and his brother, Lakpa Rita, is also an accomplished guide, having scaled Everest 17 times.
In 2017, Kami Rita became the third person to reach the summit of Mount Everest 21 times, sharing this accomplishment with Apa Sherpa and Phurba Tashi Sherpa. The latter two later retired from climbing.
Kami Rita made history on 16 May 2018, at the age of 48, by becoming the first person in the world to conquer Mount Everest 22 times, establishing the record for the most summits on this 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak.
Apart from his Everest achievements, Kami Rita holds the record for the most 8,000-meter summits, with a total of 38. This impressive tally includes eight ascents of Cho-Oyu (in 2001, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2016), one ascent of Lhotse (in 2011), and one ascent of K2 (Karakorum 2) in 2014.
Kami’s Personal Life:
Kami Rita grew up in Thame, in a one-room house with his large family. Thame holds significance as the birthplace of other renowned mountaineering Sherpas, including Tenzing Norgay, who, alongside Sir Edmund Hillary, achieved the historic first ascent during the 1953 British Mount Everest Expedition.
During his youth, Kami Rita briefly contemplated becoming a monk and spent some time at the Thame Dechen Chokhorling monastery, but eventually decided to pursue a different path.
As of 2023, reports indicated that Kami Rita resides in Kathmandu with his wife, Lakpa Jangmu, and their two children. Understanding the risks associated with guiding mountaineers, he prioritizes his children’s education, ensuring they have the opportunity to choose professions less perilous than mountaineering. Reflecting on his own background, he shared with a journalist,
“We were illiterate and poor, and there were no other means of survival [back then]. As a result, we were compelled to climb dangerous mountains to eke out a living.”Kami Rita Sherpa
In contrast to Kami Rita’s passion for mountaineering, his wife, Lakpa Jangmu, expressed a wish for him to retire from such hazardous endeavors. She has suggested exploring alternative job opportunities or starting a small business, but her husband remains steadfast in his commitment to climbing. Nonetheless, they both agree that their children will not follow in his footsteps to become mountain guides.
Climbing Career of Kami Rita Sherpa:
According to Lakpa Rita, Kami Rita’s brother, Kami’s initial mountain work began in 1992 when he assisted a Base Camp cook. However, some reports suggest that he was already working as a porter, transporting gear to the Everest base camp, at the young age of 12. Remarkably, by the time he turned 24, he had already scaled Everest.
In 2018, during an interview with a journalist, Kami Rita expressed his concern about the lack of support from the government for the Sherpas. Despite their global recognition, he felt that the government showed little care for their well-being. An incident involving Ang Rita Sherpa being hospitalized in Kathmandu after a brain hemorrhage in 2017 illustrated this lack of support.
Kami Rita also highlighted the dangers of the occupation, even with improved equipment and weather forecasts. He mentioned the tragic loss of Sherpas’ lives in previous incidents, like the 2014 Mount Everest ice avalanche that claimed 16 Sherpas and the avalanches following the April 2015 Nepal earthquake that resulted in the death of 10 Sherpas at the Everest Base Camp. Between 1921 and 2018, a total of 118 Sherpas had lost their lives on Everest.
In 2018, Kami Rita’s vast experience allowed him to earn about $10,000 for each Everest climb. The safest time to conquer the highest peaks in Nepal is typically around May each year, so during the autumn, he guides clients up the country’s smaller peaks. Moreover, he expressed no intention of retiring as long as his physical condition allowed him to continue climbing.
As of July 2023, Kami Rita Sherpa has summited Everest 28 times. The dates of each summit can be seen below.
Kami Rita Sherpa’s Record Setting Everest Summit Dates:
Below is a list of the record setting 28 dates that Kami Sherpa reached the Summit of Everest.
- 1994: Summited on 13 May, via S Col – SE Ridge as High Altitude Worker
- 1997: Summited on 25 May, via S Col – SE Ridge as Climber
- 1998: Summited on 25 May, via S Col – SE Ridge as High Altitude Worker
- 1999: Summited on 13 May, via S Col – SE Ridge as High Altitude Worker
- 2000: Summited on 23 May, via S Col – SE Ridge as High Altitude Worker
- 2002: Summited on 25 May, via S Col – SE Ridge as High Altitude Worker
- 2003: Summited on 30 May, via S Col – SE Ridge as High Altitude Worker
- 2004: Summited on 24 May, via S Col – SE Ridge as High Altitude Worker
- 2005: Summited on 30 May, via S Col – SE Ridge as High Altitude Worker
- 2006: Summited on 20 May, via S Col – SE Ridge as High Altitude Worker
- 2007: Summited on 22 May, via S Col – SE Ridge as High Altitude Worker
- 2008: Summited on 24 May, via S Col – SE Ridge as High Altitude Worker
- 2009: Summited on 5 May, via S Col – SE Ridge as Rope fixing team
- 2009: Summited on 23 May, via S Col – SE Ridge as High Altitude Worker
- 2010: Summited on 5 May, via S Col – SE Ridge as Rope fixing team
- 2010: Summited on 24 May, via S Col – SE Ridge as High Altitude Worker
- 2012: Summited on 18 May, via S Col – SE Ridge as High Altitude Worker
- 2013: Summited on 10 May, via S Col – SE Ridge as Rope fixing team
- 2013: Summited on 22 May, via S Col – SE Ridge as High Altitude Worker
- 2016: Summited on 20 May, via N Col – NE Ridge as High Altitude Worker
- 2017: Summited on 27 May, via S Col – SE Ridge as High Altitude Worker
- 2018: Summited on 16 May, via S Col – SE Ridge
- 2019: Summited on 15 May, via S Col – SE Ridge
- 2019: Summited on 21 May, via S Col – SE Ridge
- 2021: Summited on 7 May, via S Col – SE Ridge
- 2022: Summited on 7 May, via S Col – SE Ridge
- 2023: Summited on 17 May, via S Col – SE Ridge
- 2023: Summited on 23 May, via S Col – SE Ridge
Kami Sherpa the ‘Everest Man’ competing for the most summits of Everest:
Kami Rita Sherpa, nicknamed the ‘Everest Man’ has been fueled by competition to retain the record of the most summits of Everest by anyone. In 2023, the same year he broke his own record, he was passed by Pasang Dawa Sherpa who reached the summit 27 times.
However, the record was not tied for long as Kami Rita reached Everest’s summit for the 28th time on 23 May 2023, breaking his own record set on 17 May 2023. Once again solidifying his own record.
Now at the age of 53 Kami holds the record for the most summits of Everest as well as for the most 8,000 meter summits, with 38 total.
Kami Rita Sherpa’s Legacy on Everest:
In April 2018, Kami Rita shared with the media his ambitious goal of conquering Everest 25 times before retiring, emphasizing that this feat was not solely for his personal achievements but also for the well-being of his family, the Sherpa community, and his beloved country, Nepal. He achieved this goal in 2021. However the extraordinary milestone was not enough for him. Whereas, as of 2023 he has completed his 28th summit of Everest on 23 May 2023.
Now five years on from his promise to summit Everest 25 times, he is still going strong! With Kami being one of the most famous Mount Everest climbers to ever live, it will be exciting to see just how many times he ends up climbing Everest, and for how long his friendly competition with Pasang Dawa Sherpa will continue!
FAQs: Kami Rita Sherpa on Everest
Below are the most frequently asked questions regarding the record setting Kami Rita Sherpa.
Kami Rita Sherpa accomplished his 28th successful summit of Mt. Everest on May 23, 2023, at 9:20 am.
In 1994, Kami Rita Sherpa climbed Everest for the first time, and since then, he has made the ascent almost every year. As of 2023, Kami has reached the summit of Everest 28 times.
Kami Rita Sherpa and Pasang Dawa Sherpa have reached Everest at least 26 times. As of 2023, Kami has summited Everest 28 times while Pasang has reached the summit 27 times.