The race for the record to have successfully scaled Mount Everest the most number of times is still on.
Sherpa guide Pasang Dawa, 48, plans to climb the 29,032-foot peak next year in an attempt to again match the record set by a fellow Sherpa guide.
“I will continue to climb (Everest) as long as my body can as there are people over 60 years who have climbed it,” he told The Associated Press on Thursday. “But that does not mean I will climb until I am 60 years old, but as long as I am able to.”
Pasang Dawa reached Everest’s peak twice this spring. On May 14, he equaled the record of 26 successful ascents set by Kami Rita, who went on to reach the top of the mountain a 27th time. Pasang Dawa’s matched the new record on May 23, but Kami Rita regained his title with a 28th climb that same day.
Kami Rita, 53, has said he would head to the peak again during the 2024 climbing season, when Pasang Dawa also will be at the mountain to guide foreign clients up Everest.
Pasang Dawa first began working as porter age 12, carrying equipment and supplies from his village home on the foothills of Everest. He graduated to kitchen helper and finally got his chance to carry equipment up to higher camps in 1997.
He first summited Everest in 1998 while guiding British adventurer Bear Grylls. He slipped and fell some 650 feet near the summit but survived with only a few bruises.
Since then, he has made it to Everest’s top almost every year, not making ascents only when the mountain was closed or because of death in the family.
Like most Sherpa guides and workers on Mount Everest, Pasang Dawa makes money during the spring climbing season that is his family’s main source of income and has to last all year.
Nepal’s government last month honored Sherpa guides and record-holding climbers during celebrations of the first ascent of Mount Everest 70 years ago.