The 15th International Sagarmatha (Mt Everest) Day was observed today at home and abroad with various programmes.

The day is marked on May 29 each year in commemoration of the first successful human ascent of the world's highest peak. Two climbers Tenzing Norgay Sherpa and Edmund Hillary had set world history by summiting the peak on 29 May 1953.

Back home, the Day is celebrated on Jestha 15 in the lunar calendar each year as Sagarmatha Day, which coincides with Republic Day.

Hillary had died on 11 January 2008, 40 years after his fellow climber Sherpa passed away on 9 May 1986.

On the occasion, Nepal Mountaineering Association Chair Santabir Lama stressed the need to make mountaineering safe and professional. Record-holder mountaineer Kamirita Sherpa said the bodies concerned should pay attention to the need to address the woes of Sherpa mountain guides. Department of Tourism Director-General Taranath Adhikari shed light on the rationale of marking Sagarmatha Day. He announced the names of various persons awarded on the occasion.

Accordingly, the International Sagarmatha Award carrying a purse of Rs 100,000 was presented to renowned mountaineer Nirmal Purja (Nims Dai), the Tenzing Hillary Award with a cash prize of Rs 50,000 has been presented to Tashi Lhakpa Sherpa of Seven Summit Treks, youngest climber Mingma Gyabu (David) Sherpa, government officer Khimlal Gautam and IFMGA guide Dawa Yangzum Sherpa who have made notable contribution to mountaineering tourism.

Tourism Minister Ale handed all these awards to the winners. Prior to the official programme, a morning procession was held from Thamel to the programme venue. Tourism entrepreneurs and stakeholder organisations participated in the procession.

So far, around 7,000 Nepali and foreign mountaineers have successfully climbed atop the world's highest peak. There is competition among mountaineers to climb the tallest peak as old records are being broken and new ones being set over the years.

Kamirita Sherpa has made the latest world record by summiting Mt Everest for the 26th time. He had scaled the world's highest peak for the first time in 1994.

Similarly, Appa Sherpa has scaled Sagarmatha 21 times while other mountaineers had set new records in various categories of mountaineering.

As per the 'Mountaineering in Nepal, Facts and Figures, 2020' published by the Department of Tourism, 6,507 climbers have successfully climbed Sagarmatha since Tenzing Norgey Sherpa and New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary first climbed the world's tallest mountain.

The number of women climbers ascending Mt Everest so far has reached 471.

Junko Tabei, a Japanese national, was the first woman to climb Sagarmatha.

A version of this article appears in the print on May 30, 2022, of The Himalayan Times.