It can sometimes feel like the things being ticked in the Himalayas are getting quite formula. That may sound critical and that certainly isn’t the intention. All I mean is that there are a lot of people climbing the same things and by the same routes and, while for each individual the challenge will surely be a life enhancing adventure and there is nothing wrong with following in the footsteps of others, it is still always nice when something genuinely new comes up on your newsfeed.
Way back in May a photo was shown of a long queue of climbers heading for the summit of Everest. It was soon picked up by media sources around the world and, infact, for a while you really couldn’t escape it. The photo was taken by Nirmal Purja. At the time you might not have heard about this mountaineer and you still may not be familiar with his name, but I am sure you soon will be.
The reason he will soon be very widely known is well worth telling. Nirmal Purja MBE, or Nims as he is commonly known, spent the last 16 years serving in the military (with ten of these in the UK special forces). In 2019 he left the forces with the intention of taking on a truly improbable goal. His target being to break over seven speed world records on mountains above 8,000m, with the most challenging being to climb all the 14 peaks over 8000 metres within 7 months. Bear in mind, as you internalise that information, that the current world record (held by Jerzy Kukuczka), is 7 years, 11 months and 14 days.
At first he set off and there didn’t seem much fanfare about the challenge he faced. I have never met Nims and yet I get the impression he is a humble man – maybe he wasn’t shouting too loud at that point. It is also likely that some felt the challenge to be too big and were waiting for him to prove himself. Now, only a few months down the line, there is no doubt Nims has shown his incredible capabilities and it has been truly humbling to follow his progress on the challenge he termed Project Possible.
As I write, Nims has only three out of the fourteen 8.000m peaks remaining as Project Possible heads towards its final phase. Nims and his team are currently enjoying a well deserved break before heading upwards again in September. So far the journey has included queues on Everest, rescues on Annapurna and summiting K2 after many others had turned for home. Surely a film will be made about this achievement one day.
Interestingly, alongside the incredible physical and mental hurdle of the mountaineering challenge, Nims also faced the daunting challenge of funding the project. He started the challenge with enough funds to attempt some of the early summits and yet, as I understand from the information I have read, he had no certainty in those early stages that he would be able to fund the full project. This sort of challenge won’t come cheap. He just had the strength to believe it would all come good.
Fortunately, more companies have now come forward to support Nims and we were delighted to hear from one of our favourites, Osprey Packs, that Nims has become an ambassador for the brand. We’ve worked with Osprey for several years and know the quality and design detail of their products, so there is no doubt it won’t be equipment carrying comfort that will hold Nims back as he enters the final phase. Well done Osprey and we wish Nims every success in the final phase.
Posted by Paul