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STR, AFP, Getty Images
In this May 2006 file photo, Apa Sherpa sits at the summit of Mount Everest. Apa broke his own world record by getting to the summit of Mount Everest for a breathtaking 18th time Thursday, mountaineering officials said.

KATMANDU, Nepal — A veteran Sherpa guide scaled Mount Everest for a record 18th time Thursday, Nepalese mountaineering officials said.

Apa Sherpa reached the 29,035-foot summit along with several of his team members early Thursday, said Ang Tshering of the Nepal Mountaineering Association.

Apa, 47, who now resides in Draper, beat his own record set last spring for the most climbs of the world's highest mountain. His closest rival is fellow Sherpa guide Chhewang Nima, 42, who has summited 15 times.

Like most Sherpas, Apa grew up in the foothills of Everest, and began carrying equipment and supplies for trekkers and mountaineers at an early age.

He made his first summit of Everest in 1989 and has been climbing almost every year since. He moved to Utah in 2006.

Sherpas were mostly yak herders and traders living in the Himalayas until Nepal opened its borders to tourism in 1950. Their stamina and knowledge of the mountains makes them expert guides and porters for foreign mountaineers.

Apa was among the dozens of climbers who managed to scaled Everest in the past three days, in part because of good weather conditions.

Nepal temporarily banned climbing on the mountain in early May to prevent any protests against China's rule in Tibet during an ascent by Chinese climbers carrying the Olympic torch. The Chinese team summited on May 8, and Nepal lifted the ban a day later.

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