14 peaks – 7 months – one dream – Nirmal Purja’s Project Possible realised

Nirmal Purja stood at 8027 metres atop Mt. Shishapangma yesterday morning – his last 8,000ther to complete Project Possible 14/7 – an ambitious project to scale all 8,000 metres and above peaks in 7 months. The task was daunting, the last person to achieve the feat was by Kim Chang-ho, a South Korean mountaineer and it took him seven years, ten months and six days to complete the same.

“Mission achieved,” Purja posted on his Instagram from the summit in Tibetan Autonomous Region, China, the world’s 14th highest mountain. In the last six months and one week, he had been above 8,000 metres 13 times already.

Born in Myagdi, Purja served in the British Gurkha army for 16 years. He started the project for setting an example of human potential. Nims Dai started his project on April 23 this year – when he stood atop Mt. Annapurna.

While climbing mountains back to back, Purja has also broken a few other records – for example, on 27th September, 2019, when he stood atop Manaslu, he broke another world record on the day – 13 peaks above 8,000 metres within 5 months (158 days).

A few months ago, he scaled Everest, Lhotse and Makalu within 2 days and 30 minutes – that’s another record to his name. On May 22, 2019 at 05:30 a.m. he was atop Everest, on the same day at 03:45, he was atop Lhotse. Two days later, on May 24, 2019, at 06:00 a.m. he was atop Makalu – a feat which is a true testament to his project – ‘an example of human potential’.

Purja gained notorious fame after his photo en route Everest became viral – the image which was picked up by numerous media outlets suggested ‘a traffic jam en route the world’s highest peak’. The photograph showed scores of climbers linked up on the summit ridge of Mount Everest – all awaiting their turn to summit the peak at a so-called death zone. The photograph prompted the Nepali government to consider stricter regulations to weed out inexperienced climbers – a committee has suggested an experience clause, wherein, a person will be issued a permit to climb an 8,000 metre and above peak only if the said person has climbed a peak higher than 6,500 metres. They are also considering a fee of at least US$35,000 for the privilege of climbing Everest.

While the Everest saga continues, Purja after completing his 13th peak was faced with another hurdle – Chinese authorities had closed Shishapangma, his last peak for the season. It was essential he be atop Shishapangma within November 22 to complete his mission. A special request by the Nepali government and his team granted his team a special permit, therefore enabling him to complete his mission.

He completed his project in six months and one week – a human potential earlier unknown.

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