In just 6 months and 6 days, Nirmal “Nims” Purja MBE has completed his challenge to summit Earth’s 14 tallest mountains, smashing the previous record of almost eight years and taking his place in mountaineering history.
“I am overwhelmed and incredibly proud to have completed this final summit and achieved my goal of climbing the world’s 14 tallest mountains in record time. It has been a gruelling but humbling six months, and I hope to have proven that anything is possible with some determination, self-belief and positivity. I could not have made it happen without the unending support of my friends and family who have been in my heart this entire time. We started with nothing, but look how far we’ve come,” commented Nims.
Earth’s 14 tallest mountains, all higher than 8,000m, enter the ‘death zone’ which is so-called because human life cannot exist there. This did not deter Nims, who joins a list of just 40 climbers to have completed what could be considered the ultimate mountaineering goal.
“I believed in this project and I made sure to surround myself with people who believed in it too. This was never just about me, which is the reason I’ve been able to overcome some huge obstacles on this journey. By achieving this goal, I knew I could inspire people from all generations, across the world,” added Nims.
Nims began Bremont Project Possible when he reached the top of Annapurna on 23rd April this year and has accomplished this extreme feat of mountaineering with a rotating support team made up of exclusively Nepalese climbers.
The previous world records for one individual climbing all 14 peaks was 7 years, 11 months and 14 days held by Jerzy Kukuczka in 1987, and South Korean Kim Chang-ho who beat Kukuczka’s record in 2013 by just 1 month and 8 days.
The clock stopped on Nims attempt at 08:58 local time (00:58 GMT) as he reached the summit of Shishpangma on 29th October, beating the world record by 7 years, 5 months & 8 days. Nims’ incredible achievement consisted of 14 summits in 189 days:
– Annapurna: summited 23rd April
– Dhaulagiri: summited 12th May
– Kanchenjunga: summited 15th May
– Everest: summited 22nd May
– Lhotse: summited 22nd May
– Makalu: summited 24th May
– Nanga Parbat: summited 3rd July
– Gasherbrum I: summited 15th July
– Gasherbrum II: summited 18th July
– K2: summited 24th July
– Broad Peak: summited 26th July
– Cho You: summited 23rd September
– Manaslu: summited 27th September
– Shishapangma: summited 29th October
On 22nd May, Nims reached the summit of Mount Everest along with 320 other mountaineers. It was on this climb that he took the photo seen around the world of a ‘traffic jam’ to reach the summit, bringing global attention to the mountain’s dangerous overcrowding.
As well as smashing his overall goal of scaling all 14 of the world’s 8,000m peaks in under 7 months, Nims has achieved a further six world records in the process:
1. The most 8,000m mountains summited in the spring season (6) (Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Kanchenjunga, Everest, Lhotse and Makalu)
2. The most 8,000m mountains summited in the summer season (5) (K2, Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrum 1, Gasherbrum 2, Broad Peak – the first person to summit all 8000m peaks of Pakistan in one season and in just 23 days.)
3. The fastest summit of the three highest mountains in the world
4. The fastest summit of the five highest mountains in the world
5. The fastest summit of the lowest 8,000m mountains (Gasherbrum 1, Gasherbrum 2 and Broad Peak)
6. The fastest summit of the higher 8,000m mountains, with consecutive summits of Everest, Lhotse and Makalu in 48 hours (beating his own previous record of 5 days)
The Bremont Project Possible team included Nirmal ‘Nims’ Purja and his Nepalese companions Mingma David Sherpa, Geljen Sherpa, Lakpa Dendi Sherpa, Gesman Tamang and Halung Dorchi Sherpa, along with Dawa Sherpa who acted as a base camp manager.
Bremont Project Possible also gave Nims’ Nepalese team of Sherpa guides the chance to have their own achievements recognized on the world stage, with Mingma David setting the record for the youngest person to summit all 14 of the Earth’s highest mountains (completing 9 of these summits during the project).
On 23rd April, just days into his world-record attempt and descending Annapurna, Nims led a successful rescue attempt to find fellow climber Dr Chin Wui Kin, who had been separated from an accompanying expedition and left without food, water or an oxygen bottle for 40 hours. On 15th May, having made it to the summit of Kanchenjunga in just 21 hours, Nims and his team rescued a further two climbers from a height of 8,400m and sacrificing their own supplementary oxygen to the climbers in need.
Nims has a history of carrying out daring rescues during his expeditions, and in 2016 saved the life of an Indian climber in the Mount Everest death zone, taking her down 500m from an altitude of 8450m single handedly.
Nims was born in the Dhaulagiri region of Nepal, at an altitude of 1600m, and grew up in Chitwan. He joined the legendary Brigade of Gurkhas in 2003 before passing the UKSF selection to become the first ever Gurkha to make the rank of SBS in 2009.
Although always in the outdoors and mountains, his climbing career started in Dec 2012, where he set out on a trek to Everest Base Camp. Once he arrived, instead of sticking to the schedule and returning to Kathmandu, he made a bold choice to summit Lobuche East (6,100m) without any previous climbing experience. At the Lobuche village, he was fortunate enough to be taught to use crampons on grass by the late Sherpa legend, Dorje Khatri.
In 2018, Nims was appointed a Member of the British Empire (MBE) by the Queen for his outstanding work in high altitude mountaineering.
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