A British man has claimed the record for the most ascents of Mount Everest by a foreigner after standing on the summit of the world’s tallest mountain for the 16th time.
Kenton Cool from Gloucestershire reached the top of the mountain in Nepal early on Sunday morning, according to a post on his Instagram page. The 48-year-old’s initial push for the summit was delayed due to high winds, which forced his team to wait below the peak.
Many Nepali guides who help tourists to climb the mountain have completed substantially more ascents of Everest. The current record holder is Kami Rita Sherpa, who last week climbed the mountain for the 26th time at the age of 52.
In an Instagram post, Cool paid tribute to the local guides, who he said had “worked super hard on our behalf”, calling them the “superheroes of the mountain”.
Cool has previously climbed Everest with other mountaineers including Sir Ranulph Fiennes and the broadcaster Ben Fogle.
He was told he would never walk again unaided after he shattered both heel bones in a rock-climbing accident in 1996. He defied those predictions with a year of surgery and therapy, but still suffers from chronic pain.
Speaking to the PA news agency via satellite phone ahead of the final leg of the climb, Cool said conditions were looking good, with a “great weather forecast” and a “great team”. “Overconfidence on a mountain like Everest is a dangerous thing, so nothing is assured until you’re back down at base camp,” he said.
May is the most popular time to climb the world’s highest peak, and the Nepali government has issued 316 permits to climb Everest during the current peak season, according to Reuters. The large numbers of people trying to complete the ascent in a short period of time has previously resulted in negative coverage of queues to reach the top – and of the debris left behind by some mountaineers.
But the mountaineering industry also brings in substantial income for Nepal and supports thousands of jobs in the region around Everest, which was hit hard when global tourism collapsed during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Kathmandu Post, as many as 150 climbers made it to the top of Everest in a day last week, including a group of black climbers who were taking part in an expedition designed to improve diversity in the mountaineering industry.