Appa tops Everest record 18th time


KATHMANDU, May 23 - Appa Sherpa, smashing his own world record, climbed Mt Everest for the 18th time Thursday, when 76 more climbers made it atop the highest peak on the planet. This is a single day record for the Nepali side.

Appa, along with his team member, scaled the 8,848 meter mountain early Thursday morning, said Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of Nepal Mountaineering Association. However, the Tourism Ministry is yet to confirm this.

A veteran guide, he is part of the Eco-Everest Expedition, which aims at highlighting the impact of glacial melt and global warming in the Himalayas.

Five Nepali women were also among today's climbers, the largest number of Nepali women to climb Everest at one time. Poojan Acharya, who scaled the peak with the First Inclusive Sagarmatha Expedition 2008 became the first Brahmin female to climb Everest. The other four women include Susmita Maskey, Maya Gurung and Nwang Phuti Sherpa. They were accompanied on the ascent by five altitude workers.

Ramesh KC, an official at the Tourism Ministry said the ascent by 74 climbers-- 45 Nepali and 29 foreigners-- has been confirmed. Another official at the Ministry said three more including Appa reached the top today.

Appa, 48, first scaled Everest on May 10, 1990 as a high altitude worker for the Kiwi-Everest Expedition. Since then, he has reached that summit every year except in 1996 and 2001. He ascended Everest two times each in 1992 and 1997.

After completing his 12th Everest ascent, Appa announced his retirement in 2002, citing family reasons.

But he abandoned his retirement plans and returned to mountaineering the next year. In 2006, Apa moved with his family to Utah, USA to ensure good education for his children.

Mt Everest has been ascended over 3,000 times since 1953 when Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary made it to the summit for the first time.

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