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Above the clouds: Nepalese climber conquered 14 highest mountains in the world in six months
Few climbers managed to conquer all eight-thousanders - the 14 highest peaks in the world. Only 40 lucky ones were able to visit all the highest points of the globe. Among the heroes is the Nepalese Nirmal Purja , a former British infantryman and rescue mountaineer. On October 29, Purja, better known as Nims, conquered the last peak on the list - Mount Shisha Pangma in China, completing the 14 mountains challenge in 7 months and setting a new world record. We will tell you why Purzh's achievement is unique, what other records did the climber set and how he managed to achieve this.
Who was the first to conquer all eight-thousanders?
To conquer the 14 highest peaks in the world is an achievement by itself outstanding in itself. Since 1970, only 40 people have been able to climb each of them, and most climbers took much longer than Nirmal Purzha for this.
The first person to decide on such a dubious adventure was Reinhold Messner - one of the most famous climbers in world history, traveler, writer, and now also a member of the European Parliament.
Messner not only climbed all eight-thousanders for the first time, but also opened new routes for some of these mountains: to Nangaparbat, Manaslu, Gasherbrum I (G1), Kanchenjunga, Cho-Oyu and Annapurna, he ascended previously unexplored paths. The conquest of 14 peaks Messner began in 1970 at the age of 42 and finished in 1986.
Before Nims, the record for the fastest conquest of all eight-thousanders for a long time belonged to Jerzy Kukuczka , a climber from Poland. He managed to climb all 14 peaks in 7 years 11 months and 14 days. For nine of them, Kukuchka paved new routes. It was only in 2013 that Kukuchku was surpassed by the South Korean climber Kim Chan Ho : he conquered the 8000s by a month and eight days faster.
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14 peaks in six months and six world records in addition
Deciding to conquer the highest mountains of the Earth, Nirmal Purzha set a specific goal for himself - to climb 14 peaks in no more than seven months. To realize his plan, the climber launched Project Possible 14/7 and organized a fundraiser. Nims spent a significant part of the required amount out of his pocket. He even had to mortgage his house to help out the money. At the end of January 2019, with nine weeks left before the first ascent, the funds raised exceeded the mark£ 115 thousand - a little less than 9.5 million rubles.
From- for the fact that eight-thousanders are scattered around the world, Nims had to split the expedition into three phases. Only the peaks of Nepal :
- entered the first phase
- Annapurna - April 23;
- Dhaulagiri - May 12;
- Kanchenjunga - May 15;
- Everest - May 22;
- Lhotse - May 22;
- Makalu - May 24.
Secondly, the mountains of Pakistan :
- Nangaparbat - July 3;
- Gasherbrum I (G1) - July 15;
- Gasherbrum II (G2) - July 18;
- Chogori (K2) - July 24;
- Broad Peak - July 26.
The final phase included two China 8000ers and one Nepal :
- Cho-Oyu (China) - September 23;
- Manaslu (Nepal) - September 27;
- Shisha Pangma (China) - October 29.
While speeding up the highest mountains was Nims's main goal, this record was not the only one that he managed to establish within the framework of the project. In parallel, the climber secured another six records :
- conquered the most eight-thousanders in the spring season - six;
- conquered the most eight-thousanders in the summer season - five;
- conquered the three highest mountains in the world in the shortest time;
- in the shortest time he conquered the five highest mountains in the world;
- in the shortest time he conquered the three lowest mountains of the eight-thousanders;
- climbed Everest, Lhotse and Makalu in the shortest time - in 48 hours, breaking his personal best in five days.
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Rescuing climbers and problems with a visa
Nims managed to complete the expedition in six months and six days. However, as the climber himself notes, the case could have ended faster, if not for a hitch with a visa and some unforeseen circumstances. Twice he had to bail out rock-climbers in trouble. The first incident occurred at the very beginning of the project, on April 23rd. When Nims descended from the first mountain - Annapurna - he found and rescued a lost climber, who had lagged behind his expedition and had not eaten or drunk for 40 hours by the time of the rescue.
The second time Purzha had to show heroic qualities , happened on May 15. Climbing the summit of Kanchenjunga in just 21 hours, at an altitude of 8400 meters, he and his team came across two climbers who could not descend on their own and needed help. Nims and his comrades gave them their air tanks and helped them return.
A hitch with documents arose at the final stage of the expedition. Nims had to wait a long time for permission to climb the last mountain of Shisha-Pangma. It was obtained only on October 15, after the government of Nepal appealed directly to the Chinese authorities on behalf of the climber.
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Training in the British Royal Infantry
So who is Nirmal Purzha and why did he decide to conquer the 14 highest mountains by all means? A native of Nepal, 36-year-old Nirmal has been mountaineering since 2012. Nims became interested in rock climbing, one might say, by accident. That year, he decided to visit Everest Base Camp, but then instead of going downhill he climbed to the top.
It may seem strange how a person who has never been mountaineering could take and so spontaneously conquer Everest. The fact is that Nims was already distinguished by good athletic training and physical fitness. He served in the British Army since 2003 and joined the British Royal Infantry in 2009. In 2018, Queen Elizabeth II awarded Nirmal the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
According to the climber himself, from childhood he had one goal in life - to join the Gurkhas, British troops who are recruited from Nepalese and Indian volunteers. After Nirmal was accepted into military service, he learned about an elite unit - the British Royal Infantry, and then all his dreams focused on this. To get through the tough selection, Nims had to train hard. Every morning, regardless of the weather, he got up at 3:00 and studied, after which the working day of the Gurkha began. It was strict discipline, dedication and a positive attitude that helped Purge achieve success, first in the military field, and then in mountaineering.
The story of Nirmal Purj is an inspiring example of how you need to not only set goals, but also achieve them, despite all the difficulties and obstacles on the way. Nims did what seemed impossible. He not only ended up on top of the world, but visited 14 of them. The amazing record of the Nepalese climber once again reminded everyone that anything is possible if you believe in it.