(Corrects name in paragraph two to Kami Rita Sherpa, not Ang Kami Sherpa)
By Gopal Sharma
KATHMANDU (Reuters) - A Nepali mountaineer climbed Mount Everest on Wednesday for a 22nd time while a female climber made it to the top for the ninth time, each setting a new record on the world’s highest mountain, officials said.
Kami Rita Sherpa’s 22nd ascent to the summit created a new record for the most visits to the peak of Everest.
The 48-year-old reached the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) summit via the Southeast Ridge route, accompanied by 13 other climbers including his clients, Tourism Department official Gyanendra Shrestha said from the base camp.
His latest ascent took him one summit clear of two fellow sherpas with whom he had shared the record.
“He has set the world record,” said Mingma Sherpa, chairman of the Seven Summit Treks company that employs Kami.
Kami had begun his descent and is expected to reach base camp by the weekend, Shrestha told Reuters.
The route taken on the ascent was pioneered by New Zealand’s Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay when they became the first climbers to reach the summit in 1953.
A 44-year-old woman, Lhakpa Sherpa, who lives in Connecticut, in the United States, reached the top for the ninth time, breaking her own record of the most summits by a woman, her Nepali hiking company said.
Lhakpa, who climbed from the Tibetan side of the mountain, was accompanied by a guide during the ascent, said Rajiv Shrestha of the Seven Summit Club that organized her expedition.
The climbing season runs from March through May and hundreds of climbers are on Everest, trying to reach the top from both the Nepali and Tibetan sides.
Ethnic sherpas, renowned for their endurance and experience at high altitudes, serve as guides for many foreign mountaineers attempting to climb the highest Himalayan peaks.
Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Toby Chopra