Kami Rita

Durban - Nepal's Kami Rita Sherpa is set to begin climbing Mount Everest for the 22nd time, breaking a world record he shares with fellow climbers Apa Sherpa and Phurba Tashi Sherpa.

Rita will lead a team of 29 climbers, including several Americans and Japanese nationals and 17 porters, to the 8,848 metres high peak, starting for the base camp on April 1 to acclimatise and begin climbing two weeks later.

"I am making yet another attempt to create history to make the entire Sherpa community and my country proud," the 48-year-old veteran climber told Efe news on Monday.

The Sherpas or mountain guides, an ethnic group that lives at the foot of the high Nepali mountains, are usually the first choice of foreign climbers when they are attempting to climb the Everest owing to their physical build, strength and familiarity with the region.

Rita's motivation to become an Everest guide was passed on to him by his father, as is usually the tradition in the community, who was also a Sherpa.

The mountaineer began his professional career in 1992 and, two year later, had completed his maiden ascent of the Everest, a peak that he climbed again twice per season in 2008, 2011 and 2013, until his last successful ascent on May 27, 2017.

"I will continue to climb the Everest even if I set the record this year," said the climber and added that he hopes to "make history" by completing 25 ascents, despite the challenges.

In April 2014, an avalanche near the Everest base camp had killed 16 Nepali guides and in 2015, 19 mountaineers were killed in several avalanches triggered by an earthquake that rocked Nepal and killed 9,000 people across the country.

Rita hopes to reach the top of the Everest for the 22nd time by May 29, although everything will depend upon weather conditions.

Approximately 5,300 mountaineers have reached the summit of Everest since it was first scaled by Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953.

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