Nepalese mountaineer, former Gurkha and special forces soldier Nirmal 'Nims' Purja has completed his 'Project Possible' challenge, climbing all 14 peaks over 8,000 metres in a record 6 months and 6 days (189 days). Purja summited Shishapangma (8,027m) at 08:59 local time this morning (00:59 GMT).
Although it was not a speed record attempt, the previous record for completing the challenge was held by South Korean climber Kim Chang-Ho, who finished after 7 years, 10 months and 6 days in 2013, without supplementary oxygen.
Debate continues as questions are raised about how many ascensionists have reached the true summit of Manaslu (8,156m). Purja used oxygen during the challenge and was supported by rotating group of Nepalese climbers along his journey. Regarding his use of oxygen, he commented in an interview with explorer Ash Routen:
"I have to get back down, so that I can reach the next mountain. 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."
Following the closure of Shishapangma to climbers by Chinese authorities this season, Purja's chances of finishing the challenge so promptly looked slim, until the China Tibet Mountaineering Association decided to provide a special permit for Purja and his team following an appeal by the Nepali government.
During the course of the challenge, Purja was involved in four rescue missions. In May, Purja also broke his previous Guinness World Record by climbing Mount Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu within 2 days and 30 minutes and went viral on the internet as his photograph of a deadly queue on Everest was shared by the mainstream media.
On June 9th 2018, Purja was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by the Queen for his outstanding work in high altitude mountaineering.
Nims Purja's Project Possible Journey
Annapurna – April 23rd
Dhaulagiri – May 12th
Kanchenjunga – May 15th
Lhotse – May 22nd
Everest – May 22nd
Makalu – May 24th
Nanga Parbat – July 3rd
Gasherbrum I – July 15th
Gasherbrum II – July 18th
K2 – July 24th
Broad Peak – July 26th
Cho Oyu – September 23rd
Manaslu – September 27th
Shishapangma - October 29th