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‘They’re Calling Me a Liar’: Nims Purja Posts Video to Prove Foul Play Atop Everest

Mountaineer Nims Purja fires back at claims that he invented a crime with video evidence that allegedly shows sliced ropes on Everest.
Nimsdai PurjaNirmal 'Nims' Purja; (photo/Red Bull Content Pool)
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Did someone cut the fixed rope used by hundreds of climbers to ascend Mount Everest?

That’s the claim made by Nirmal “Nims” Purja, an expedition leader who said his team members discovered the sliced rope during a summit push on Monday. Later that day, another team successfully reached the summit using the fixed ropes, leading to accusations that Purja had invented the story for personal gain.

On Monday, the Nepalese government announced an investigation into Purja for “disseminating misinformation with the intention of getting popularity.”

But Purja fired back with some fresh video evidence on Wednesday morning, publishing an Instagram video showing the cut ropes and interviewing Sherpas from his company, Elite Exped. Other teams were able to summit because Purja’s team had already repaired the line, he said.

“They’re calling me a liar. That is the evidence of rope being cut,” Purja said as he showed a cut rope high on the mountain.

High-Altitude Allegations

Purja’s team first heard of the sliced rope on Sunday from another expedition company called Peak Promotion. The outfit was retrieving a body when they reported a cut rope below the South Summit.

A day later, Purja’s team said it found the sliced rope exactly where Peak Promotion said it would be. In interviews, Sherpas with Elite Exped said that about 120 feet of rope had been cut and cast down the mountain. They discovered this lost section of rope on Monday between the mountain’s South Summit and a section known as the Balcony.

One Sherpa said he initially believed the rope must have been cut by a rock. But upon further inspection, he said it was clearly sliced by a knife.

Peak Promotion hasn’t responded to requests for comment.

Purja’s initial video post received many comments from fellow mountaineers on Everest, who questioned the story. Many of them wondered why anyone would bother cutting ropes that are shared among many different expeditions.

“No one would have … deliberately cut a fixed line in the mountains,” wrote Nga Tenjin Sherpa of The Summit Force. “If someone did, the government would be ready to impose severe penalties, [but] Nims cannot accuse others without proof. If his claims are untrue, it could cause significant problems for him.”

A History of Conflicts

This isn’t the first time that Purja has found himself at the center of a controversy. Last week, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal refused to grant him a skydiving permit after claims that he illegally commandeered a helicopter on Everest earlier this month, according to The Himalayan Times.

But those claims of an illegal flight are “unequivocally false,” a spokesperson for Purja told GearJunkie.

“Some of our esteemed clients had become unwell and needed medical attention,” the spokesperson said. “The rescue was done successfully and clients went on to recover successfully in Kathmandu. There is nothing ‘illegal’ about this action as rescue flights are sanctioned.”

Nimsdai Purja
Nirmal ‘Nims’ Purja; (photo/Red Bull Content Pool)

When Purja took to Instagram to make a big claim about foul play on Everest, Nepali’s tourism officials reacted quickly.

“Nims’ claims are baseless and it seems he chose this trick to garner people’s sympathy,” Damber Parajuli, president of the Expedition Operators Association Nepal, said in an emergency meeting in Kathmandu.

But Purja, a former member of Nepal’s Ghurka regiment and the U.K. Special Forces, doesn’t plan on backing down.

“I welcome the Department of Tourism investigation into the cut ropes and hope they will find out what happened and why,” he said. “I do not make things up.”

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