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KATHMANDU, Nepal | AFP | A Nepali mountaineer broke her own world record for the maximum number of Everest summits by a woman after scaling the peak for the seventh time on Friday, her expedition company said.
The daughter of a yak herder, 43-year-old Lhakpa Sherpa worked as a porter and kitchen hand on trekking and mountaineering expeditions when she was young, before becoming a climber herself.
The mother-of-three retired from climbing after her sixth summit of the 8,850-metre (29,035-foot) high Mount Everest in 2006 before deciding to make a comeback, 16 years after she first scaled the world’s tallest peak.
“Lhakpa summited Everest at 5:00 am (2315 GMT) today for the seventh time,” said Svetlana Nujoom, program manager of 7 Summits Adventure, which organised her expedition.
In an interview with AFP in March, Sherpa said she intended to summit Everest twice this season, although Nujoom was unable to confirm whether she still planned a second bid before weather conditions worsen by the end of the month.
“The team is descending at the moment and I am not sure if she will go back up this season,” Nujoom told AFP.
Sherpa, who works as a part-time housekeeper in the United States, scaled the peak from its Tibetan side, unlike most climbers who begin their ascent from Everest base camp in Nepal, the easiest and most popular route.
Sherpa has said she eventually wants to beat the record held by male climber Apa Sherpa which stands at 21 total summits.
Her record caps a successful season for climbing on Everest, which has seen around 300 summits since last week, ending a years-long drought after two disasters.
Nine Nepalis last week became the first group of climbers in three years to summit the peak, paving the way for others to follow.
Hundreds of climbers abandoned their expeditions last year after an earthquake-triggered avalanche at Everest base camp killed 18 people.
Only one climber summited the peak in 2014, using a helicopter to transport tent equipment to higher camps after an avalanche killed 16 Nepali guides and prompted the cancellation of that year’s mountaineering season.
Mountaineering is a major revenue-earner for impoverished Nepal but last year’s earthquake, which killed almost 9,000 people, threatened the future of the Himalayan nation’s climbing and trekking industry.