Karakoram Summer 2019: Nirmal Purja Summits Nanga Parbat

Summits Nanga Parbat: Without a doubt, one of the biggest stories in mountaineering this year has been the Nirmal “Nims” Purja’s attempt to summit all 14 8000-meter peaks in a seven month period. This past spring, he got things off to a roaring start by climbing all six of those mountains that fall within Nepal, including Everest, Lhotse, Kangchenjunga, Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, and Manaslu. Now, he’s added a seventh peak to that list and confirmed that he is in Pakistan this summer where he hopes to climb four more mountains before he’s through.

Last week we heard rumors that Purja was in Base Camp on Nanga Parbat, but his social media outlets remained quiet as to his current location. We had known all along that he had plans to summit K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I and II, and Nanga Parbat this summer, but those efforts looked like they might be hampered by a lack of funding.

Nims had been using a GoFund me page to help get his expeditions off the ground, but he had used up much of his cash in Nepal during the spring season. It was starting to look like he wouldn’t make it to Pakistan this summer, although neither he nor Seven Summit Treks, the company handing  his logistics, would confirm his plans.

Over the weekend however, there was a definitive update at last. Purja shared several photos on his Facebook feed from the summit of Nanga Parbat, which means he’s not only in Pakistan for the summer, he’s also on track to continue Project Possible 14/7. After all, he probably wouldn’t have come to the Karakoram if he wasn’t going to try to get all five of the 8000-meter mountains there. According to Nims himself, the plan is to wrap up the last of those peaks –– presumably K2 –– by August 1.

According to this story in The Himalayan Times, Purja and his support team helped install the ropes to the summit of Nanga Parbat that allowed others to follow close behind. Nims indicates that team was made up of Mingma David Sherpa, Lakpa dendi Sherpa, Walung Dorje Sherpa, Galjen Sherpa and Stefi Troguet.

We know that Troguet had left BC last week as part of a group that was made up four teams that joined forces with one another to reach the top. The others included Sergi Mingote, Moesses Fiamoncini, Ali Sadpara, Vitaly Lazo, and Anton Pugovkin.

We’re still a few weeks away from serious summit pushes on K2, but the teams there are putting in the work. The Madison Mountaineering squad is up the hill and in Camp 2, where they are spending the night as part of the acclimatization. Adrian Ballinger is on the same schedule and will be off social media for a few days while he is up high as well.

Mike Horn is in BC after having already completed his C2 rotation, but he indicates that he and climbing partner Fred Roux will head back up soon for a stay at C3. Once that acclimatization round is complete, they’ll be ready for a summit push as soon as the weather permits.

I’ve said before this season that Horn and company were amongst the first to arrive in BC, and it appears they want to be the first to reach the summit too. I’d expect them to launch a bid well before the major commercial squads are ready to go.

That’s all for today. The news from Pakistan seems to becoming fast and furious right now however, so more to come soon.

Kraig Becker