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Top of the World

Kami Rita has climbed to the top of the world’s tallest mountain more than anyone else on the planet.

Kami Rita sits and poses on a boulder at Everest base camp with many tents in the background.

Prakash Mathema—AFP/Getty Images

In this 2021 photo, Kami Rita poses at a Mount Everest base camp, one of the places where climbers stop when they try to reach the top of the mountain.

A man named Kami Rita has climbed the world’s highest mountain more times than anyone else in the world. On May 23, 2023, Kami Rita reached the top of Mount Everest for the 28th time!

Climbing a mountain that’s more than 29,000 feet (8,800 meters) high can be very dangerous. Kami Rita, who is part of an ethnic group called the Sherpas, grew up in the mountains and learned how to climb by doing so with experienced guides. He first reached the summit (top) of Mount Everest in 1994. Today, he’s a guide who climbs Everest with people who rely on his knowledge and experience to keep them safe.  Helping them is how he earns his living.

There are many Sherpa guides who help visiting climbers—but none is as accomplished as Kami Rita. Still, he might not hold the climbing record for long. He’d set a record of 27 climbs the week before, only to see another guide, Pasang Dawa, match that record a few days later. It may not be long before Pasang Dawa climbs Everest for the 28th time.

But that’s okay with Kami Rita. He’s planning to retire soon. While Kami Rita became a climbing guide like his father, he says his kids are planning other careers.

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Fun Fact

© Anna Dudko/Dreamstime.com

Limestone rocks near the top of Mount Everest contain fossilized seashells. This is proof that this part of the world was once under a sea that separated two continents!

Tough Stuff

Several people with ropes, oxygen tanks, and other gear climb up the side of a mountain.

Pemba Dorje Sherpa—AFP/STR/Getty Images

It can be hard to breathe near the top of Mount Everest. Most climbers need to carry tanks of oxygen.

Have you ever wondered how hard it would be to climb Mount Everest? Here’s why reaching the top of the world is never easy.

  • You need to be very strong. Even with rope and other equipment, it’s tough to climb a steep mountain. 
  • It’s cold! The higher you climb, the colder it gets. In fact, temperatures at the top of Mount Everest are always below freezing, even in the summer. The wind makes it even colder. This also means there’s snow and ice, which makes climbing even tougher.
  • Speaking of wind… At the top of Mount Everest, winds can be as strong as a hurricane in the winter. 
  • It’s a very tall mountain. Mount Everest has a high elevation (height). When you get that far above Earth’s surface, the air has less oxygen and it’s harder to breathe.

More About Everest!

© Daniel Prudek/Dreamstime.com

Did you know that very few plants and animals can survive on Mount Everest? There’s a lot more to learn about the world’s highest peak.

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Word of the Day

endurance

Part of speech:

noun

Definition:

: the ability to do something difficult for a long time

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