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Alpinism’s Greatest Feat? Nims Purja Is on the Brink

Nims Purja climbing Everest for Project PossibleNims Purja; (photo/Red Bull Media House)
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The record time for climbing every 8,000m mountain stands at nearly 8 years. Now, a former Nepali soldier stands to smash that record in spectacular fashion.

Less than 7 months ago, Nirmal “Nims” Purja began his attempt to climb all of the world’s 14 8,000m peaks in under a year. Now, he’s on his last one.

Purja, who began the mountaineering Project Possible on April 23, just finished climbing Manaslu (his 13th 8,000m peak) last week. The final peak on his list, Shishapangma, lies in the Himalayan region but is located entirely within Tibet. That means to climb, he needs a permit from China’s government.

And that final hurdle to his last massive climb was just lifted. Purja finally received a message from the China and Tibet Mountaineering Association that his team would get a special permit for Mt. Shishapangma at the request of Nepal’s government, reported the Himalayan Times.

Project Possible
Purja on K2 and Nanga Parbat summits; photo credit: Project Possible

Purja is most well-known for his work as a mountaineer and photographer, especially for his photo of the “traffic jam” on Everest that went viral in May.

He’s now proving himself as arguably the greatest high-altitude mountaineer of all time. His checklist for 2019 is beyond impressive, with literally every one of the world’s tallest mountains represented in a remarkably tiny timeframe.

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Nims Purja 2019 Summits by Date

  • Annapurna (April 23)
  • Dhaulagiri (May 12)
  • Kanchenjunga (May 15)
  • Everest (May 22)
  • Lhotse (May 22)
  • Makalu (May 24)
  • Nanga Parbat (July 3)
  • Gasherbrum I (July 15)
  • Gasherbrum II ( July 18)
  • K2 (July 24)
  • Broad Peak (July 26)
  • Cho Oyu (Sept. 23)
  • Manaslu (Sept. 27)

Yes, you read that right: He climbed both Everest and Lhotse in one day.

Before becoming a mountaineer, Purja spent 16 years in the British Army as a U.K. Special Forces member. He grew up in a town less than 1,000 feet above sea level.

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6 Other Records Purja Set in 2019

Of course, if you’re climbing 14 peaks taller than 8,000 m in a year, you’re going to set some others along the way. Purja has already set six world records, according to Project Possible:

  • Most 8,000m mountains in the spring season (6)
  • Most 8,000m mountains in the summer season (5)
  • Fastest summit of the three highest mountains in the world (Everest, K2, and Kanchenjunga)
  • Fastest summit of the five highest mountains in the world (Everest, K2, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, and Makalu)
  • Fastest lower 8,000m mountains (Gasherbrum 1, Gasherbrum 2, and Broad Peak)
  • Fastest higher 8000m mountains (consecutive summits of Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu in 48 hours, which beat his own previous record of 5 days)

The current records for the 8,000m peak attempt are both just under 8 years. In 2013, Korean climber Kim Chang-ho completed the feat in 7 years and 10 months, and earlier in 1987 Polish climber Jerzy Kukuczka made it up in 7 years and 11 months.


GearJunkie will continue to follow Purja’s attempt as he prepares for Shishapangma.

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