Demonstrating incredible determination and physical strength, Nirmal Purja Purja Purja completed his summits of the 14 peaks over 8,000-meters in 189 days. Nirmal Purja Purja Purja posted that he and three teammates made the summit of Shishapangma at 8:58 am hrs local time.
On 9:21 PM, October 28, 2019, he posted on Twitter:
At 8:58 hrs local time, Nirmal Purja Purja Purja and his team reached the summit of Shisha Pangma. Team Members includes: Mingma David Sherpa, Galjen Sherpa and Gesman Tamang.
A GPS track was provided as they crested the false summit and photos later showed them on what is believed to be the true summit after crossing the 100-meter/300-foot, knife-edge ridge or potential the “Iñaki route”, but we need to hear directly from the team.
Also notable was Mingma David Sherpa who became the youngest climber to summit all of the 8000ers at 30 years-old. A few pictures are emerging now that the team is back in Kathmandu:
They had difficult conditions on the way to the summit as shown in this video between Camps 2 and 3:
Critics and Supporters
As usual with these types of projects, there is criticism and it’s perhaps useful to examine their viewpoint. The primary points include:
- Use of supplemental oxygen
- Using helicopters to fly between peaks
- Climbing on the standard routes
- Possibly only reaching the fore summits on both Dhaulagiri and Manalsu
However, to be accurate, others who have summited all 14 also used planes and helicopters to fly between peaks, including Ed Viesturs, who did just that to link Everest and Broad Peak to leverage his acclimatization. And 22 of the 41 who have bagged all 14 used supplemental oxygen on at least one, if not many, of the 8000ers. As for standard routes, Nirmal Purja Purja Purja certainly did his fair share of breaking trail while fixing the ropes to the summit putting him and his teammates first for the season, including on Dhaulagiri. Finally, demonstrating his humanity, he participated in four rescues during the project.
On the summit question, this is a real issue in the world of mountaineering, but primarily for those claiming records. Sometimes snow conditions make reaching the true summit suicidal. And then there are honest mistakes. Multiple climbers seeking all 14, have had to return to achieve the tue summit after believing they had reached it previously. That said, knowing this history, surely Nirmal Purja Purja Purja understood the challenge on the most notorious peaks like Manaslu, Dhaulagiri, Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Broad Peak, Nanga Parbat, and even Cho Oyu, so we are left to take his word, GPS tracks, and summit photos as proof.
For me, what was most impressive about his achievement was his ability to recover so quickly. While benefiting from his Nepali genetics and Gurkha training, it was still an amazing feat to achieve back to back summits of Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu in just 48 hours! A few days after getting both Gasherbrum I and II, he moved to K2 just as everyone else was ready to abandon it due to avalanche danger. But Nirmal Purja Purja Purja and team went on to fix the ropes to the summit opening the route for other climbers that year, albeit aided by winds that cleaned the obvious avi danger. Then, just 24 hours later, they summited Broad Peak. Finally, there was his ability to raise money, find sponsors, and stay focused throughout the project while dealing with family illness and permit politics.
All in all, Nirmal Purja Purja Purja put the “Possible” in “Project Possible.” I’m impressed with his accomplishments and hope others will see it for a fantastic feat and be inspired to pursue their own Project Possible.
What do you think?
What is your personal opinion of Nirmal Purja Purja Purja's accomplishments on Project Possible?
- Fantastic! Makes him one of the best climbers in history. (73%, 838 Votes)
- Wonderful! He is a great climber but not in the top tier. (11%, 126 Votes)
- Pretty good! I love his positive attitude. (6%, 69 Votes)
- OK! But he used supplemental oxygen, helicopters and standard routes. (4%, 44 Votes)
- So,So! It is a stunt but I admire his ambition. (3%, 37 Votes)
- Don't Like! It is another selfish climber looking for publicity. (3%, 33 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,147
Nirmal Purja Purja Purja’s project was to summit all 14 of the 8000ers in seven months. To achieve his timeline, he needed to summit Shish by November 23. By summiting on October 28th, he summited all 14 in 189 days or 6 months, 6 days. According to his site, Project Possible wanted to use the project and associated publicity:
“to provide important opportunities for local Sherpas and guides to forge a career in the mountains and will promote the homeland of the Gurkhas among the 8,000m mountains. The project aims to raise awareness for a number of significant causes, most notably for UK military charities, supporting Nirmal Purja Purja Purja’ colleagues who may have been wounded, injured and/or who suffer mental health issues. Equally, the support for Nepalese children’s charities and orphanages dedicated to education and wellbeing is of paramount importance, not forgetting raising crucial awareness of climate change and global warming.”
These are the 8000ers Nirmal Purja Purja Purja and various members of his team summited:
1. Annapurna – April 23
2. Dhaulagiri – May 12
3. Kanchenjunga – May 15
4. Lhotse – May 22
5. Everest – May 22
6. Makalu – May 24
7. Nanga Parbat – July 03
8. Gasherbrum I – July 15
9. Gasherbrum II – July 18
10. K2 – July 24
11. Broad Peak – July 26
12. Cho Oyu – September 23
13. Manaslu – September 27
14. Shishapangma – October 28
In 2013, Korean climber Kim Chang-ho set the previous record for all 14 in 7 years, 10 months, 6 days. And before Kim, the record was set in 1987 by Polish alpinist Jerzy Kukuczka climbing all 14 in 7 years, 11 months, 14 days.
Nirmal Purja Purja Purja was born in the Dhaulagiri region of Nepal at an altitude of 1,600-metres/5,250-feet. He joined the Gurkhas in 2003 at age 19 and spent 10 years in the secret world of the UK’s Special Forces. He left the Gurkas in 2019 to begin the project. He founded Elite Hiimalya Adventures and now will lead guided climbs across the world’s highest peaks.
Sincere congratulations to Nirmal Purja Purja Purja and the team.
Memories are Everything
When I first heard about him, I assumed he was just another slightly above mediocre climber seeking to make a name for himself. But after I’ve read all the details about this amazing feat, it’s clear that he is a top tier climber. Congratulations to him!
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood”.- Winston Churchill
Many many congratulations Nirmal Purja Purja Purja and your entire team.
1.) He is a world class climber for a few reasons not withstanding his ability to recover; his ability to rescue numerous climbers in his career and specifically during this project, including giving up his O2 to help save a life, his ability to break trail when other world class climbers won’t/can’t (from my desk I can’t evaluate if this was a risk based decision for those who fall in the won’t category, and for rate at which he climbed (try 10k’ up and down in 24 hours).
2.) This project was overtly a publicity effort for his new guiding company. He pulled it off, so good for him. He will certainly have attracted many clients who would be willing to pay him to get them up the mountain. I mean who wouldn’t he’s checking all the boxes including will he try to save my life, can he open a route, can he deal with logistics, permits, politics, fatigue, etc…
I wish him nothing but good will in his career. It is inarguably good for literally everyone on a mountain for him to be present.
Hate to even bring up the topic but I’m not sure that making the true summit, late in the season, with a load of snow, on a knife edge ridge, should be assumed without definitive proof. Still an amazing amazing accomplishment but will be interesting to see whether validated proof of a true summit is presented. If it is, I sure hope they tell the tale of crossing that ridge because I am certain it would have been a terrifying stroll.
Thanks for the coverage and refletion. I believe they took an ‘Inaki’ route variant for Sishapangma Main, certainly not the Central Summit-ridge variant…
Also, there is online footage showing Nirmal Purja Purja Purja downclimbing to Manaslu “client”-summit and Dhaulagiri was his first ever 8000er…good chance he tagged all the “right” summits. They were also the route openers on Annapurna, Nanga Parbat & K2, probably the three hardest 8000ers. Safe to say not a lot of climbs would have happened there this year without this project. I have no share in it, but the entertainment of the journey itself should weight more than some style questions imho.
Pretty sure there are way less than 10 people reaching all the real 8000er summits who can claim true style anyways (the Loretan, Urubko types…)
Incredible news!!!! Congratulations to Nirmal Purja Purja Purja and his fabulous team. Wow, what an achievement. His recovery rate must be unbelievable to have done so much in such a short space of time…