Kenton Cool: Former University of Leeds student reaches summit of Everest for record-breaking 16th time

A mountaineer who developed his passion for climbing while at university in Yorkshire has become the first non-Sherpa to summit Mount Everest 16 times.

By Grace Hammond
Sunday, 15th May 2022, 11:03 am
Updated Sunday, 15th May 2022, 11:05 am

British mountaineer Kenton Cool has successfully completed his record-breaking 16th summit of Mount Everest on Saturday.

Mr Cool, 48, got his passion for rock climbing while studying for a BSc in geological sciences at the University of Leeds, and later moved to Sheffield to pursue his passion further.

He reached the summit of the 8,849-metre peak overnight on Saturday (May 14), alongside British fitness entrepreneur Rebecca Louise, who was completing the feat for her first time.

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Mountain climber Kenton Cool

In his previous 15 trips up Everest, he has been a guide to other well-known mountaineers, including Sir Ranulph Fiennes and broadcaster Ben Fogle.

Fogle described Mr Cool, who lives in Gloucestershire with his wife and two children, as “one of the all-time greats”, adding: “To climb Everest once was a trial – to climb it 16 times is heroic.”

Alongside his 16 Everest summits, he previously became the first person to complete the Everest triple crown, comprising of Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse, in one push without returning to base camp.

He was also the first British guide to lead a client to the summit of K2, the world’s second tallest mountain.

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He was told he would never walk again unaided after he shattered both heel bones in a rock-climbing accident in 1996. He defied those predictions with a year of surgery and therapy, but still has chronic pain.

Speaking via satellite phone ahead of his push to the summit, Mr Cool said conditions were looking good, with a “great weather forecast” and a “great team”.

“Overconfidence on a mountain like Everest is a dangerous thing, so nothing is assured until you’re back down at base camp,” he said.

“Fingers crossed we’ll be at base camp in about three days and we might be able to crack a beer and celebrate Rebecca’s first summit, my 16th summit and a successful descent by all the Sherpa team.”

A post on Mr Cool’s Instaram page read: “SUMMIT SUCCESSFUL. Kenton & Team have reached the summit of Chomolungma, Sagarmatha, Mt Everest. This marks KC’s 16th summit, a non Sherpa record.”