Come down your high horse, climbers! We have a winner. Nepalese climber conquered the world’s highest peaks in record time for the first time in history. Not just record time, but in a fraction of the previous record.
What is it
Summing it up: 14 peaks, 6 months, 1 guy. Nirmal Purja aka Nims has broken the world record of climbing all the 8000-meter peaks in only 189 days on October 27, 2019. The fastest time to achieve this mind-boggling challenge before our pahadi was 7 years, 10 months and 6 days. The 36-year-old was a soldier for the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy until 2018. That’s when the former Gurkha embraced his true calling: mountaineering. He successfully climbed 14 of the world’s highest peaks of which 8 cover Nepal, 5 Pakistan and 1 Tibet. What’s even crazier is he grazed 3 of them within 48 hours!
We can just imagine what he must feel like after crossing Everest, Lhotse and Makalu (the first, fourth and highest) consecutively. He was quoted saying “I listen to my body. You must have humility so that you can get home. You can always go again without oxygen if that is what is so important, but you can’t if you’re dead.”
How did he do it
His all Nepali rotating team made it possible. Luck, skill and hard work are all involved. Without even one of these, you’re in over your head. But, that’s not all. Governments were involved in Purja’s success. Nepal asked China for a special permit to climb Shishapangma in Tibet. Without this delay, the world’s highest peaks would have had a tougher challenge for aspiring climbers. Bremont, a British watchmaker sponsored this inspiring expedition after cofounder Nick English was mesmerized by the native Nepalese.
On May 22, he took the viral photograph of a traffic jam of climbers on Mount Everest. He also gifted the world a shocking photo of his team at the ‘death zone’ on Mount Shishapangma which has seen at least 11 deaths this year. A picture is worth a thousand words and in this case it forced governments to pay attention to Mother Earth’s problems. Mountaineering laws are being revised because of the world’s greatest climbers. During the process of setting this record, Nims broke 6 other world records including the fastest summit of the three highest mountains in the world. One of his team members, Mingma David, is now the youngest person to summit all 14 of the world’s highest peaks, thanks to this climb.
His greatest achievement
Not the climb, not the viral alert, it’s saving lives. While on #ProjectPossible, Nims stopped to rescue three climbers stuck in the middle of nowhere. Dr Chin Wui Kin had survived for 40 hours without food, water or oxygen only for Pahadi heroes to save him from relentless Annapurna Massif in Nepal. On Kanchenjunga, Nims and his team sacrificed some of their oxygen to save 2 fellow climbers.
Who else made the climb
Reinhold Messner was the first person to conquer all of the Himalayan titans in 1986. He set this gigantic goal without oxygen supplements! Jerzy Kukuczka held the record of 7 years and 11 months since 1987. In 2010, Edurne Pasaban became the first woman to complete all the 8,000ers. South Korean Kim Chang-ho finished the task with 7 years 10 months of climbing in 2013. Only 40 people have ever summitted all 14 world’s highest peaks in human history.
“We climbed for 15 hrs non stop… wind speed of more than 75 km/hr… spent more than 3 hrs finding the way/route on the glacier.” That’s what Nims calls a “pretty tough day”. He tweeted this on October 26, right before tweeting in caps “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED” the next day.