It has been a very busy week on Mt. Everest. A few days back we shared the news that Kami Rita Sherpa had completed his 26th successful summit of the mountain, breaking his own record in the process. But he wasn’t the only person to make history on the mountain over the past few days as hundreds of climbers scrambled to the top.
Most Summits by a Woman
While Kami Rita Sherpa holds the record for the most Everest summits of anyone, it is Lhakpa Sherpa who holds that title for female climbers. The 48-year old Nepali woman—who lives in the US now—has worked as a porter in the Himalaya since she was 15 and first climbed the 29,032-foot peak back in 2001. Since then, she has gone on to summit the mountain an additional nine times, the most recent coming on Thursday, May 11.
Despite being one of the strongest female climbers in the world, Lhakpa has had a difficult time attracting sponsors. She currently lives in Hartford, CT where she works at the local Whole Foods, while prominent male Sherpa guides earn a living a professional climbers. The mother of three does serve in that capacity during the spring season, but it isn’t her full-time career.
All of that said, Lhakpa is gearing up for another challenge this summer. According to ExWeb, she plans to attempt K2 in July. While that peak is not quite as tall as Everest, it is a more technical mountain and requires a higher level of skill and tolerance for risk. It should be fun to follow along with that expedition as well.
All-Black Expedition Team Summits Too!
Back at the start of the spring climbing season we told you about the Full Circle Everest Expedition. That’s the team consisting of all African American climbers who set out to make history in the Himalaya. The group had a goal of expanding the number of Black mountaineers who have summited the Big Hill and after yesterday’s summit push they have done just that.
The Full Circle squad topped out as part of the first big summit wave on Everest this spring, with seven of its members standing on top of the world’s highest peak. In addition to team leader Phil Henderson, six other members completed the climb. Which six climbers made it remains unclear, but we’ll update this post once we know who were able to summit.
The team was successful in achieving its goals on two accounts. First, with seven successful summits there are now 17 Black climbers that have reached the top of Everest. The Full Circle team nearly doubled that number themselves. They also became the first all-Black team to climb the mountain as well. Hopefully more Black alpinists will follow in their footsteps soon.
A Promising Start
Thursday marked the first real summit push for the 2022 season on Mt. Everest, but the next few days will likely prove very busy as well. At the moment, the weather looks good heading into the weekend, so more teams are likely to follow.
According to Alan Arnette, there were more than 100 climbers from 40 different countries who summited yesterday, along with 73 Sherpas joining the pack. Things seem to have been very ordly on the upper flanks of the mountain, where traffic jams are often the norm this time of year. Hopefully the weather holds out and more teams get up and down safely in the days ahead.
Follow Alan’s blog for updates throughout the rest of the season. As always, he provides the best source of information as to where teams are at on the mountain at any given time. He also watches the weather forecast closesly and receives updates from a variety of sources.
And to those who have yet to embark on their summit push, good luck and godspeed.
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