KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — A British mountain guide returned to Nepal’s capital on Friday after scaling Mount Everest for a 17th time, breaking his own record for the most ascents of the world’s highest mountain by a non-Sherpa guide.
Kenton Cool first climbed Mount Everest in 2004 and has been doing it almost every year since then.
“I really don’t think records belong on the mountains. Mountains are bigger than records,” Cool said at Kathmandu airport after getting off the helicopter that brought him back from Everest. “I am just happy we had a great climb and that we are back.”
Only Nepali Sherpa guides have scaled the peak more times than Cool. Veteran Sherpa guide Kami Rita climbed the mountain this week for a record 27th time. Another Sherpa guide, Pasang Dawa, has scaled it 26 times. Both Kami Rita and Pasang Dawa are still on the 8,849-meter (29,032-foot) mountain with their climbing groups and there is a chance they could reach the summit again before the spring climbing season finishes at the end of this month.
Hundreds of climbers and their local guides are currently on Everest and a rush for the summit is expected in the next few weeks. Nepalese authorities issued about 470 permits to climb Everest this season.
Nine people have died on Everest this year, including four Sherpa guides.
Cool was unable to climb Everest in 2014 because the season was canceled after 16 Sherpa guides were killed in an avalanche, and again in 2015 when an earthquake triggered an avalanche that killed 19 people. The 2020 climbing season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.