To say that it has been a successful season in the Karakoram for Nirmal “Nims” Purja would be a vast understatement. After kicking off his Bremont Project Possible expedition in Nepal this past spring, where he summited six 8000-meter peaks, the summer was expected to be no less daunting. With five such mountains on the agenda in Pakistan –– including the incredibly formidable K2 –– success was far from assured. But this morning, at 8:50 AM local time, Nims and his companions summited Broad Peak, giving him a clean sweep of the Karakoram and Himalaya so far.
The successful summit comes just two days after Purja led a successful push to the top of K2, working alongside the rope fixing team in those efforts. After standing on the summit of the world’s second highest mountain, Nims quickly descended to Base Camp the following day. There, he took a brief rest to dry out some of his gear before trekking to Broad Peak, where he and Mingma David Sherpa, along with Halung Dorchhi, went straight to Camp 2. Once there, they barely had time to catch their breath before heading up to the summit this morning. All three men topped out together and are now safely back down the mountain.
With 11 8000-meter peaks now on his resume, Purja will have a bit of a break before the autumn climbing season gets under way in the Himalaya once again. Typically, that season starts around mid-September, which is about the time that he’ll be heading to Nepal and Tibet to attempt the final three mountains on his agenda. He currently has just Cho Oyu, Shishpangma, and Manaslu left to climb before he accomplishes his goal of summiting all of those mountains in a seven month period, breaking the previous record by more than seven years. And while there is no such thing as an “easy” 8000-meter peak, he now has the toughest of those mountains behind him. The three remaining should be extremely approachable –– relatively speaking –– putting his goal well within reach.
Back on K2, Adrian Ballinger, Carla Perez, Topo Mena, and company have safely descended to BC and are now preparing to head home. Ballinger and Perez summited without the use of bottled oxygen and promise to share more of their story in the days ahead, including video footage from the summit push. Adrian has now climbed both Everest and K2 without oxygen, and Carla has become the first woman from South America to accomplish that feat. Considering the hurdles that were placed in front of this team throughout the season, they are an inspiration to all of us.
Finally, the large commercial contingent of climbers with Seven Summit Treks on K2 has also descended back to BC safely. The team topped out yesterday, proving that patience can pay off on this very difficult peak. They’ll now spend a day or two recovering from their efforts before starting the trek back to Askole, then on to Skardu, Islamabad, and home.
Congrats to everyone for such an impressive and inspiring season in the Karakoram. Things aren’t completely wrapped up yet, but they’re starting to get close.