Nepali Climber Aims to Nab All 8000-meter Peaks in a Single Year

We’ve seen some ambitious mountaineering goals before, but Nirmal Purja’s Project Possible is almost certainly the most difficult and challenging undertaking that I’ve ever come across. Nims –– as he’s known to his friends –– is about to launch an attempt to climb all 14 of the world’s 8000 meter peaks in a single year. In fact, if everything goes as planned, he’ll nab them all in a mere seven months.

Nims has reportedly been a part of the British special forces for the past 10 years, serving a total of 16 years in the U.K.’s military. But, this year he is retiring from the service and embarking on Project Possible instead. The hope is to use the project as a platform to raise funds to assist other veterans who are in need. His goal is to pull in more than £750,000, which equates to about $993,000. We’ll round up and call it an even $1 million.

On his website, Purja has outlined this plans, which actually officially get underway tomorrow. Phase 1 of the schedule will run from March 15 through June 1, with plans to summit Everest, Lhotse, Kangchenjunga, Makalu, Dhaulagiri, and Annapurna. From there, he’ll launch Phase 2, which will run from June 1 to August 1, and will include summit attempts on K2, Nanga Parbat, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum 1 and 2. Finally, Phase 3 will take place in the fall, running September 1 to November 1, with expeditions to Manaslu, Shishapangma, and Cho Oyu.

Despite the fact that we haven’t heard much about Nims in the past, he reportedly has quite the mountaineering background. According to his website, he holds a number of records, including the fastest consecutive summits of Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu, knocking all three off in just five days. He’s also set the record for going from he summit of Everest to the top of Lhotse, completing that traverse in just 10 hours and 15 minutes. He’s also the first person to have summited Lhotse, Makalu, and Everest twice in a single season.

Purja will need a healthy does of strength, stamina, and experience –– not to mention plenty of luck –– if he hopes to climb all 14 8-thousanders in a single year. Doing so would break the previous record, which was set by Korean climber Chang-Ho Kim. It took him 7 years, 10 months, and 6 days to achieve that feat. Nims hopes to do it in a fraction of the time.

You can bet we’ll be following his progress closely in the weeks ahead. We should probably start to get updates on his progress soon and if I were a betting man I’d guess the first peak on this hit list will be Annapurna, which has been the target of early season expeditions in recent years. We should find or more soon though, as the spring Himalaya climbing season is about to kick into gear.