A Nepali mountaineer, Nirmal Purja, created a record for summiting the world’s 14 highest peaks. Racing up all “8000ers” in just seven months, he smashed a new speed record.
Nirmal Purja completed the climb of 14 mountains in just seven months. The previous record took almost eight years.
A Polish climber Jerzy Kukuczka completed the same feat after seven years, 11 months and 14 days in 1987. Before Kukuczka, Italy’s legendary Reinhold Messner became the first to scale the 14 peaks.
South Korean Kin Chang-ho also completed the challenge one month slower than Kukuczka. But this was unlike Kukuczka as he never used supplementary oxygen. Kukucza died while a climbing accident in 1989.
Purja’s Climbing Journey
Nirmal Purja is 36 year old and is a former member of the Gurkhas. The Gurkhas is a unit of Nepalis recruited into the British army. He is also a part of the elite Special Boat Service, which kicked off his ambitious “Project Possible” in April.
Purja in his first attempt climbed Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Kanchenjunga, Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu. These are the highest of the “8000ers”. He finished this target in just one month.
After a month later, he headed towards Pakistan for his next trip or the second part of the record. In the second phase, he tackled the notorious Nanga Parbat at 8,125 meters.
Purja was determined to achieve his target, battling sleep deprivation he sprinted up and down almost five of Pakistan’s highest peaks. These included Gasherbrum I, Gasherbrum II and K2, the second tallest in the world.
Twenty-three days later, he was standing on the top of Broad Peak. This was his fifth and final mountain of the second phase. With this, he completed the second phase of his record.
For his final phase, he chose to climb Cho Oyu and Manaslu within a week. This phase started in September.
Sharing his experience, he told the media about his new quest. Initially, people made fun of this and said it’s nearly impossible.
“Everyone was laughing at me and saying ‘how it will be possible?”
“You always need to have (a) positive mindset because sometimes things will go wrong.” He also said that he wanted to use his feats to inspire the next generation of Nepali climbers to break his records.”
In order, the 14 mountains were:
- Annapurna, Nepal, summit reached 23 April
- Dhaulagiri, Nepal, 12 May
- Kanchenjunga, Nepal, 15 May
- Everest, Nepal, 22 May
- Lhotse, Nepal, 22 May
- Makalu, Nepal, 24 May
- Nanga Parbat, Pakistan, 3 July
- Gasherbrum 1, Pakistan, 15 July
- Gasherbrum 2, Pakistan, 18 July
- K2, Pakistan, 24 July
- Broad Peak, Pakistan, 26 July
- Cho Oyu, China, 23 September
- Manaslu, Nepal, 27 September
- Shishapangma, China, 29 October
We congratulate Purja on this amazing feat and wish him all the best for the future!