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Nepali climber smashes women's record for fastest Mount Everest ascent

Kathmandu — Nepali climber Phunjo Lama on Thursday reached Mount Everest's summit in 14 hours and 31 minutes, smashing the record for the world's fastest ascent of the mountain by a woman. Climbers usually take days to reach the top of the 29,032-foot mountain, spending nights on its different camps to rest and acclimatize.

But Lama, who is in her thirties, shaved more than 11 hours off the previous best that had stood since 2021. It means she has reclaimed her own record.

"She started (from the base camp) at 15:52 on May 22, summited 6:23 am May 23," Khim Lal Gautam, chief of the tourism department field office at the base camp, told AFP.

This photo taken on April 27, 2019 shows an aerial view of Mount Everest taken during a flight from Nepal to Bhutan. Sarah Lai/AFP/Getty

Earlier this month, when Lama was still at Everest's base camp, she said in a post on Facebook that she was "100 percent sure" she would reach the top of "the Mother Goddess."

In 2018, Lama clinched the record for the fastest ascent by a woman by climbing Everest in 39 hours and six minutes.

That record was broken in 2021 by Ada Tsang Yin-hung from Hong Kong, who conquered the mountain in 25 hours and 50 minutes.

Nepali climber Lhakpa Gelu Sherpa holds the record for the record for the fastest-ever ascent of Everest, reaching the summit in 10 hours and 56 minutes in 2003.

Only a day before Lama set her record, another Nepali climber, the renowned Sherpa mountain guide Kami Rita, reached the summit of the world's tallest mountain for a record 30th time.

Nepal Everest
Veteran Sherpa guide Kami Rita, returning after scaling Mount Everest for the 28th time, arrives at the airport in Kathmandu, Nepal, on May 25, 2023. Niranjan Shrestha / AP

Known as "Everest Man," the 54-year-old reached the summit Wednesday at 7:49 a.m. local time, Lal Gautam said.

It was the second time he'd reached the peak in a month, and he told AFP after his previous climb that he was "glad for the record, but records are eventually broken. I am more happy that my climbs help Nepal be recognized in the world."

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