Everest Hero Kami Rita Calls for Clean-Up and Better Sherpa Benefits.


Nestled within the buzz and bustle of Kathmandu, Nepal, a celebration was held in honor of one of Mount Everest’s most adept guides, Sherpa Kami Rita. Renowned for an astonishing feat of scaling the world’s highest peak an impressive thirty times, Rita was recognized for his tireless efforts by none other than Nepal’s Prime Minister, Pushpa Kamal Dahal. Everest Day, the annual event compelling the recognition, marks the anniversary of the first successful ascent of the looming mountain, a performance achieved by Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay of Nepal in the bygone year of 1953.

But the esteemed mountaineer, as much revered for his achievements as for his spirit, gave voice to a pressing concern shadowing the iconic peak: growing mounds of refuse accumulating at the summit. Troubled by the proliferation of waste revealed by the receding sheaths of ice and snow cloaking the mountaintop, Kami Rita voiced the urgent need for immediate and directed attention towards the issue. His suggestion: Create a true celebration of Everest Day by launching government-funded initiatives aimed at the extensive clean-up of the camps near the mountaintop.

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Indeed, attempts to swipe clean the humbling mountain have been undertaken almost every year. Recent endeavors had seen Nepali soldiers employed in the tedious task of gathering trash trails left by past expeditions. Yet, Kami Rita noted with regret that there is still garbage lurking at Camp 3 and 4, areas beyond the reach of past clean-up campaigns.

However, the mountaineer’s considerations were not purely for the environment. He also highlighted the need for improved conditions and benefits for Sherpa guides, who perform the daring task of navigating the perilous paths of the mountain. He called for an increase in the insurance amount for the guides, asking for up to six million rupees ($45,000), and a provident fund to secure their future.

Kami Rita, now 54 years old, has made the sturdy peak almost his second home, shattering records by scaling the 8,849-meter (29,032-foot) mountain twice this month alone. His most immediate competition is his fellow guide, Pasang Dawa, who has made a commendable 27 successful expeditions.

With a legacy that traces back to his father, one of the inaugural Sherpa mountain guides, Kami Rita’s journey with Everest began in 1994 and continues today, almost every year. His role and skillset contribute greatly to the safety and success of foreign climbers who dare to reach Everest’s zenith. But the world’s highest peak is not his only challenge – he has tackled K2, Cho Oyu, Manaslu, and Lhotse, all part of the world’s tallest peaks.

Highlighting the ceremony, several other Everest climbers and members of the community joined Kami Rita in the acknowledgement of their awe-inspiring contributions.