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World Record Everest Climber Kami Rita Sherpa-Brand Ambassador of Himalayan Glacier

Kami Rita Sherpa is not a new name in the mountaineering fraternity. Placing his name in the Guinness Book for Everest record holder, his two summits in 2019 make it up to 24 times. It was in the year 1994 that Kami made it to the top of Mt. Everest for the first time when he was just 24 years old. The Nepalese mountaineer, now the brand ambassador, as well as the Chief Adventure Consultant of Himalayan Glacier, is a native of Thame village. The village is just 13 miles ahead of the Everest Base Camp and it is the same village where the legendary Sherpa Tenzing Norgay grew up. The world’s highest Everest summiteer for a maximum number of times, Kami Rita can be metaphorically nicknamed as the “Everest Tiger”.

Background

Having spent his childhood days next to the colossal Himalayan mountains, Kami Rita Sherpa was highly influenced by the peaks. Reaching school from his home was a brisk 4-hour trek and it certainly tested young Kami’s dauntlessness towards hiking and climbing.  Life was very tough on him as the major towns were far away, food was often skimpy and healthcare facilities almost did not exist. To make an extra income and support his family, Kami discontinued his studies at the age of 11. He began carrying equipment and supplies for trekkers and mountaineers while trekking with his elders to peaks beyond 3000m and other short treks.

Later, Sherpa considered becoming a monk after dropping out of school and trekking with elders for a short period of time. He wanted to spend at least 5 years and get trained in the rituals of the monastery. So, after spending some time at the Thame Monastery he gave up that thought too. By the time Kami was 12, he took a keen interest in mountaineering. He would hear stories from the Sherpa guides during the evenings. This is what Kami had to say during an interview: “I wanted to become a monk and spent 5 years at a nearby monastery, but how could I look for inner peace when the lives of my parents back home hung in the balance? There was no option for me, but to return to climbing.”

 Twenty-four Times Everest summiteer Kami Rita Sherpa, at the top of Mt. Everest
Twenty-four Times Everest summiteer Kami Rita Sherpa, at the top of Mt. Everest

Kami Rita Sherpa started working as a kitchen porter assisting a base camp cook. This was probably his first work in the mountains. His elder brother Lakpa Rita Sherpa was a climbing guide who accompanied climbers up to the summit. Lakpa was the 1st Nepali Seven summiteer and an International guide. For a period of 2 years, Kami worked under the guidance of his brother. During the course, his brother trained him rigorously pushing him through high-altitude exposures thereby fetching him work for small groups as a guide. Finally, in 1994 Kami gave it a try and succeeded in making it to the top, after which there was no stopping for him. Scaling the Everest for the first time Kami had these words to say during an interview – “At that moment, I was happy not about my first summit, but thinking how my life would be easier henceforth. With the summit of Everest on my CV, I would get more work.”

Personal Life and Career

Kami Rita Sherpa lives with his wife Lakpa Jangmu and two children in Kathmandu. He is making sure that his children get a good education so that they can live their lives by choosing occupations that are not risky. He and his wife were poor and illiterate. He had no other means of survival other than working in the mountains compelling to do dangerous tasks to make both ends meet. Lakpa wishes her husband to retire from mountaineering life and start some small-time business. But the passion in Kami does not let him go off-center and he turns a deaf ear on her. However, she is solid-strong in her stand that her children will not pursue their career as mountain guides.

Kami Rita’s father Mingma Tshering Sherpa was one of the most professional guides whose career ended after severe frostbite during a climbing expedition. He worked with Tenzing Sherpa as a porter when the 1st summit was made in 1953 along with Edmund Hillary. Today, Kami’s father is 103 years old. During an interview with the Kathmandu Post daily newspaper, Kami Rita said, “My inspiration has always been my father. He is the one who drives me forward and always pushes me to do great things. As he never climbed Everest, I wanted to do it for him.” Even his brother Lakpa scaled the Mt. Everest 17 times for his father. Kami’s brother Lakpa Rita created history when he became the first Nepali to conquer all the Seven Summits, the audacious venture of summiting the highest mountains of the seven planets.

Kami’s father Mingma Sherpa went to Darjeeling and stayed there for 7 years where two of his daughters were born. In Darjeeling, he attended Tenzing Norgay’s institute of mountain climbing where he learned several climbing skills. Mingma’s parents called him to return to his native village, so he decided to return from Darjeeling. After returning to Thame, nine more children were born to Mingma Sherpa. Out of the total eleven children, three of them died and eight are still alive to this day. While Mingma was with Tenzing and Hillary in 1953 as a porter, his salary was just Rs 3, but Hillary paid him Rs 7. Mingma also helped Hillary to build the Thame school. It took 40 days to build the school and Kami’s father worked for straight 30 days. When the school got ready, Kami got admitted there and he studied when he was 7 years old until he was 11. Due to the shortage of money, Kami could not continue after class 3 – he had to leave school. 

By following his father’s footsteps with an unshakable strength of mind, Kami fulfilled his dream of reaching the summit of Mt. Everest in 1994. In due course of time, he also scaled other highest peaks of the world such as K2, Mt. Cho-Oyu, Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Manaslu, and Mt.Annapurna among others. Although his family members were against his passion after the calamitous avalanche at the Everest base camp in 2015, he couldn’t surrender his wanderlust. Kami knows very well that each day in the mountain could be his last one, yet he is unstoppable until fulfilling his dream of scaling Everest for the 25th time.

Before 2018, Kami Rita had been employed by an American company that managed climbing expeditions. He later joined the very renowned outfit Seven Summits, also an expedition company that exclusively dealt with high-altitude expeditions. In August 2019, Kami Rita was appointed as a Brand Ambassador and the Chief Adventure Consultant for Himalayan Glacier Adventure and Travel Company based in Charlotte, North Carolina, US.

Kami Rita Sherpa during Leisure time

When not climbing, Kami used to work for a non-profit organization established with a goal to support the needy Sherpa families and save their culture and traditions. Kami Rita was the founder, Vice-President and the Advisor of the non-profit organization. He helped the organization to build a porter shelter in 2015.

Kami engages himself with social activities and group participation when not in the mountains. His group won the Sherpa Lhosar dance competition twice. Kami plays the Sherpa guitar, Dum Yung and entertains his family and friends at social festive gatherings. He goes to stupa every morning and evening and pays his gratitude to the gods for his safety and success. The same non-profit organization did his Welcome-Home party twice after summitting the Everest for the 22nd and the 24th time.

Kami Rita and his mountain Expeditions

Listed below are the Everest expeditions undertook successfully by Kami Rita Sherpa. The entries are in chronological order

Expedition Date & Year Route
Mt. Everest 13th May 1994 via South Col – Southeast ridge
Mt. Everest 25th May 1997 via South Col – Southeast ridge
Mt. Everest 25th May 1998 via South Col – Southeast ridge
Mt. Everest 13th May 1999 via South Col – Southeast ridge
Mt. Everest 23rd May 2000 via South Col – Southeast ridge
Mt. Everest 25th May 2002 via South Col – Southeast ridge
Mt. Everest 30th May 2003 via South Col – Southeast ridge
Mt. Everest 24th May 2004 via South Col – Southeast ridge
Mt. Everest 30th May 2005 via South Col – Southeast ridge
Mt. Everest 20th May 2006 via South Col – Southeast ridge
Mt. Everest 22nd May 2007 via South Col – Southeast ridge
Mt. Everest 24th May 2008 via South Col – Southeast ridge
Mt. Everest 5th May  2009 (Rope fixing team)
Mt. Everest 23rd May 2009 via South Col – Southeast ridge
Mt. Everest 5th May 2010 (Rope fixing team)
Mt. Everest 24th May 2010 via South Col – Southeast ridge
Mt. Everest 18th May 2012 via South Col – Southeast ridge
Mt. Everest 10th May 2013 (Rope fixing team)
Mt. Everest 22nd May 2013 via South Col – Southeast ridge
Mt. Everest 20th May 2016 via North Col – Northeast ridge
Mt. Everest 27th May 2017 via South Col – Southeast ridge
Mt. Everest 16th May 2018 via South Col – Southeast ridge
Mt. Everest 15th May 2019 via South Col – Southeast ridge
Mt. Everest 21st May 2019 via South Col – Southeast ridge
Mt. Cho Oyu 8th October 2001 NW side
Mt. Cho Oyu 21st September 2009 NW side
Mt. Cho Oyu 2nd October 2006 NW side
Mt. Cho Oyu 30th September 2009 NW side
Mt. Cho Oyu 4th October 2011 NW side
Mt. Cho Oyu 26th September 2013 NW side
Mt. Cho Oyu 29th September 2014 NW side
Mt. Cho Oyu 30th September 2016 NW side
Mt. Lhotse 20th May 2011 West Face
Mt. K2 27th July 2014 Abruzzi Ridge
Mt. Manaslu 26th September 2017 NE Face
Mt. Manaslu 28th September 2018 NE Face
Mt. Manaslu September 2019 (yet to summit)

Kami Rita as Brand Ambassador & Chief Adventure Consultant of Himalayan Glacier

Kami Rita, the living legend and the Everest tiger set a new entry in the Guinness Book in 2019 by summiting Everest for a record 24th time. In a ceremonial event in August 2019, Sherpa and the chairperson of Himalayan Glacier, Sagar Pandey have signed a treaty. As stated in the covenant, the illustrious climber Kami will be serving as a Brand Ambassador and the Chief Adventure Consultant of Himalayan Glacier for two years.

Kami Rita Sherpa and Company CEO Sagar Pandey 
Signed a Treaty.
Kami Rita Sherpa and Company CEO Sagar Pandey
Signed a Treaty.

After the signing of the pact, Kami Rita Sherpa will now be involved in promoting all the activities conducted by Himalayan Glacier during his tenure in the organization. Besides other activities, he will also be participating in adventurous trips to Everest Base Camp and Island Peak in Nepal, and Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa. With a major goal of attracting the new generation of aspiring tourism entrepreneurs into the tourism sector, Kami Rita Sherpa has been bestowed with a significant glare of publicity. Moving ahead with professionalism is a rightful step to retain and catch the attention of newly-inspired tourism kingpins.

During the official affair of signing the agreement, the humble yet down-to-earth Kami Rita Sherpa emphasized his preference of working in Nepal. Despite several lucrative offers from various foreign adventure companies, Sherpa was never decoyed to leave his motherland. He is now very happy to have gotten to represent Himalayan Glacier – a highly regarded American-based company with operational office in Kathmandu.

Upcoming Himalayan Glacier Trips to be led by Kami Rita Sherpa

From among the numerous adventurous trips designed by Himalayan Glacier as their trademark, Kami Rita Sherpa will be leading the following trips in Nepal as well as in Tanzania:

  1. Everest Base Camp Trek
  2. Island Peak Climbing
  3. Mt.Kilimanjaro Expedition

The dates for these expeditions have not been fixed yet, but to learn more about the trips and the probable expedition dates, travelers can contact us here.

Himalayan Glacier Operation Team In Asia.
Himalayan Glacier Operation Team In Asia.

Through the voice of Kami Rita Sherpa

We have had talks with the legend who has been to the world’s highest summit more number of times than anyone else. During the tete-a-tete about his climbing ventures and other related topics, he has spoken about some interesting facts and other inspiring and motivating words, which we have compiled and presented below:

  • “I always try to make sure that every client succeeds up to the summit, but there is a line. The moment I realize that any of my clients won’t be able to make it to the top, I will simply abort the mission.”
  • “There is always a risk of avalanche and above Camp 3 the path is steep and treacherous. If in doubt, descending is always the wisest decision because Everest will always be there if you survive.”
  • “Climbing to 8848 meters is a job, not a record-setting feat. I didn’t climb to set the world record, but in the course of my work in the guiding industry, it is going to be my 23rd ascent.” (Prior to Kami’s 23rd summit bid).
  • “Overcrowding in Everest in nothing new and it is not the reason people are dying. It’s the pressure on young climbers by some agencies describing Everest as easy. Everest is never easy.”
  • “Without a Sherpa, there is no expedition at all.”
  • “I treat every climb with the same sincerity as the first. Whenever a client is successful, it makes my day. I believe breaking records is just a by-product.”
  • “Sherpas are the army of the mountains. But, despite being an integral part of Nepal’s tourism industry, our contribution in barely recognized by Nepal government.”
  • “We sacrifice everything for the mountain. We know the mountains the best and can help to save them as no one else can. But the government has to trust us and provide security of our profession.”
  • “I am making yet another attempt to create history and make my entire Sherpa community and my country proud.”
  • “So many things in my life are uncertain and left without a plan. I will think about next year….next year itself.”
  • “I can climb for a few more years. I am healthy. I can go until I am 60 years old.”
  • “With oxygen, it is not a big deal, we were born and raised in the Himalayan laps.”
  • “I’ve always been 100 % focused on my job. I never thought about making records.”
  • “I actually did not know that you could make a record. Had I known, I would have done a lot more summits earlier.”
  • “We have always feared the Khumbu Icefall. But that day, our fear materialized into a catastrophe.” (Reminiscing about 2014 avalanche in the Khumbu icefall, that killed 16 Sherpas).
  • “Sherpas fix ropes all the way to the top making way for the foreign climbers. However, foreigners give interviews saying Everest is easy or talk about their courage. They forget the contribution of the Sherpas who have struggled a lot to make it happen. We suffer.”
  • “Months before I begin an ascent, I start worshipping the mountain and ask for her forgiveness because I have to put my feet on her body.”
  • “Right before the final steps to the summit, others run to take photos but I bow my head again and ask for her forgiveness.”
  • “No matter how strong you are, how good you prepare, you have to be blessed by God to reach the top.”
  • “Summit traffic jams are not the problem – it is the trek down that kills people.”
  • “Climbing on Everest is a little bit scary, even for a veteran like me. I get nervous, especially at the rickety and unpredictable Khumbu Icefall.”
  • “My climbing days on Everest are numbered, but I’m not done yet. I’m going back next year for the 25th summit on my 50th birth year. It will be a kind of silver jubilee celebration.”
  • “After my 25th summit, I’m going to quit. I have plans to start doing management works for other treks while I will be hiking some shorter peaks.”

Awards and Recognitions

We have mentioned below the coveted awards and recognitions that were awarded to Kami Rita Sherpa on numerous occasions. Besides the prestigious awards mentioned hereunder, he had been continuously conferred the letter of completion and a token of appreciation from the Tourism Department, Government of Nepal:

 Kami Rita Sherpa received Tenzing-Hillary mountaineering Award in 2018.
Kami Rita Sherpa received Tenzing-Hillary mountaineering Award in 2018.
  • 2006, Certificate of Appreciation presented by The Mountaineering Association of Tibet, for successfully summiting Mt. Cho Oyu.
  • 2009, Certificate of Appreciation presented by The Mountaineering Association of Tibet, for successfully summiting Mt. Cho Oyu.
  • 2012, Certificate of Appreciation presented by ExpeditionOperator’s Association, Nepal, in recognition of his tireless efforts, outstanding service and significant contribution to the Rope Fixing Team for Everest.
  • 2013, Certificate of Appreciation presented by The Mountaineering Association of Tibet, for successfully summiting Mt. Cho Oyu.
  • 2014, Certificate of Appreciation presented by Alpine Club of Pakistan, for successful Mt. K2 expedition.
  • 2014, Certificate of Appreciation presented by The Mountaineering Association of Tibet, for successfully summiting Mt. Cho Oyu.
  • 2016, Certificate of Appreciation presented by The Mountaineering Association of Tibet, for successfully summiting Mt. Everest from Tibet (North Col) side.
  • 2017, Token of Appreciation presented by Sherpa Shepherds, for most successful ascents of Mt. Everest (21 times).
  • 2018, Tenzing – Hillary Mountaineering Award presented by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Government of Nepal, for promoting adventure tourism in Nepal.
  • 2018, Certificate of Felicitation presented by Tourism Entrepreneurs Association, Nepal, in recognition of his remarkable and highly valued contribution to the mountaineering and mountain tourism industry of Nepal.
  • 2018, Felicitation from Thamichhowa Youth Group, Solukhumbu for successfully scaling Mt. Everest for the 22nd time.
  • 2018, The Brand Personality Award, presented by Asia Pacific Brands Foundation, for being a devoted high-quality Sherpa and top-notch veteran mountaineering guide.
  • 2018, Guinness World Records Certificate for most ascents of Mt. Everest (22 times).
  • 2018, Incredible Mountaineer Award presented by Maharashtra Seva Sangh, Mulund, India, for incredible achievement in the mountains by overcoming physical and psychological limits.
  • 2019, Letter of Appreciation presented by the Center for Diplomacy & Development, Kathmandu, for indomitable spirits and persistent efforts to conquer Mt. Everest 24 times.
  • 2019, Plaque of Honor presented by Himalayan Rescue Association of Nepal for being the first mountaineer to summit Mt. Everest 24 times.
  • 2019, Guinness World Records Certificate for most ascents of Mt. Everest (24 times).
  • 2019, Giripremi Excellence Award 2018 presented by Giripremi, Pune, India, for being 22nd times Everest summiteer and a world record Sherpa.
  • 2019, The World’s Personality Award presented by Khumbu Nangpala Treks & Expeditions Pvt. Ltd., for being the only man on the planet to climb Mt. Everest for the 24th time.
Himalayan Glacier Adventure and Travel Company
About the author

A leading adventure & tour operator in the Himalayas since 1992, Himalayan Glacier Adventure & Travel Company® is the #1 guiding adventure travel company on Mount Everest Base Camp and beyond with 98% success rate. Continuing its decades-old legacy, Himalayan Glacier is a little different from other adventure & tour operators. Each of our holidays is truly a tailor-made package which we design for all ages, groups, families & solo travelers. We have veteran mountaineering leaders who have been into this industry for several decades. So, we offer you complete choice and freedom to explore the real pleasure of traveling.

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