KATHMANDU: A Nepali sherpa scaled Mount Everest for a record 27th time on Wednesday, beating his own record, a government official and his hiking company said. Kami Rita Sherpa, 53, scaled the 8,849 metre (29,032-foot) mountain early in the morning along the traditional southeast ridge route, guiding a foreign climber. “Yes, Kami Rita climbed Sagarmatha for the 27th time,” said Department of Tourism official Bigyan Koirala, referring to the mountain by its Nepali name. Thaneswar Guragai, manager of the Seven Summit Treks, for which Kami Rita works, said he got to the summit at 8.30 a.m. (0245 GMT) along with the foreign climber. “We’re trying to get details. For now it’s 100% confirmed that Kami Rita scaled for the 27th time,” Guragai said. He scaled Everest for the first time in 1994 and has climbed it almost every year since then, except in 2014, 2015 and 2020, when climbing was halted for various reasons. This year, Nepal has issued 478 permits, the most ever, for people to climb Everest in the peak March-May season compared with the previous record of 408 in 2021. The Himalayan nation, which is heavily reliant on climbing, trekking and tourism for foreign exchange, has been criticised for allowing too many climbers, many of them inexperienced, to try for Everest’s summit. Dangerous overcrowding can develop, especially at a bottleneck called the Hillary Step, just below the summit. In 2019, nine exhausted climbers died near the summit after queues built up of climbers going up and down. Climbing contributed $5.8 million to state coffers this year, $5 million of it from Mount Everest, according to government data. Everest has been climbed more than 11,000 times, from both the Nepali and Tibetan sides, since it was first scaled in 1953, with many people going up it multiple times. More than 320 people have died on the mountain, hiking officials said.