Home > Climbing > Mountaineering

Famed Mountaineer Nims Purja Clashes With Nepali Govt. Over Everest ‘Rope Cutting’ Controversy

Despite a claim that ropes had been cut high on the mountain, another team reached Everest's summit a day later.
Nims Purja climbing Everest for Project PossibleNims Purja; (photo/Red Bull Media House)
Support us! GearJunkie may earn a small commission from affiliate links in this article. Learn More

Even on a mountain known for complex politics, the latest Mount Everest kerfuffle is strange.

It started on Sunday when Nirmal “Nims” Purja posted a video on Instagram claiming that someone had cut a line of fixed ropes set up by his expedition company, Elite Exped. That would be a major problem, as many expeditions share the ropes to take clients up the Himalayan mountain.

“I have lived with disgusting and dirty politics and tactics since 2019 simply because I have disrupted the industry and been extremely successful!” Purja said in the video. “People are always trying to bring me down!”

Soon after, other expeditions reported that the ropes were still in place, allowing them to reach the summit. Within a day, the Nepalese Government’s tourism department announced an investigation into Purja for “disseminating misinformation with the intention of getting popularity.”

A spokesperson for Purja said on Tuesday that he would release a statement once everyone in his team had safely descended the mountain.

Mount Everest: A Crowded Mountain

Every May, hundreds of climbers line up to ascend the world’s highest mountain. On the best weather days of the month, many expeditions send their teams up simultaneously, resulting in long, bottlenecked lines of climbers following the same fixed rope.

So, any expedition on the mountain would quickly notice if the rope had gone missing. In Nims’ video, which remains publicly available on his Instagram, another team member says that the rope was “cut and thrown to the other side [of the mountain].”

ExplorersWeb reported that Purja’s video led Pioneer Expeditions leaders to advise their summit team to exercise extra caution when summiting the following day. However, on Monday, Pioneer Expeditions reported that its client reached the top using the fixed ropes.

“It caused them to go slower,” spokesperson Nivesh Karki said.

Tourism remains an important part of Nepal’s economy, so it’s not too surprising that, according to a Monday statement, government officials swiftly announced an investigation of Nims for allegedly “defaming Nepal’s mountaineering tourism.”

The strange turn of events marks a bizarre end to another busy tourism season on Everest. Just a week earlier, a cornice toppled along the main route, killing at least one climber and bringing the death toll this season to six people. Kami Rita Sherpa, 54, also set a new record by summiting the mountain for the 30th time.

And about a week before he posted the inflammatory video on Sunday, Purja recovered the bodies of a Sherpa and an American climber from another Himalayan mountain.

mallory and wife Ruth

Mallory’s Last Words: Haunting Letters From Fateful 1924 Everest Expedition Now Online

George Mallory's last words, including his final letter to his wife, Ruth, are now available to read online through his alma mater. Read more…

Subscribe Now

Get adventure news and gear reviews in your inbox!

Join Our GearJunkie Newsletter

Get adventure news and gear reviews in your inbox!