Project Possible Expedition: One of the biggest stories we’ve been following in the mountaineering world this year has been the attempt Nirmal “Nims” Purja to climb all 14 8000-meter peaks in a single year. In fact, he hopes to summit all of them in just seven months, which would break the previous record by eight years.
The former Gurkha soldier calls this ambitious plan Project Possible and after an impressive spring climbing season in the Himalaya, he started to make believers out of us all. Then things hit a snag when the project started to run low on funds, possibly putting the entire expedition in jeopardy. Fortunately, it now looks like he has secured the funding he needs and he is moving on with Stage 2 of his grueling climbing schedule.
Project Possible got underway this past March when Nims headed to the Himalaya with big goals in mind. He lived up to those challenges however, summiting six peaks in a little over a month’s time. Those mountains included Everest, Lhotse, Manaslu, Dhaulagiri, Kangchengjunga, and Annapurna.
After he managed to top out on all of those mountains in rapid succession, it looked like he was on pace to continue his assault on the record books. Phase 2 of the project would send him to Pakistan where he would attempt Nanga Parbat, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I and II, and the formidable K2. After that, it would be on to Tibet in the fall to finish up his plans, scaling Cho Oyu, Shishapangma, and Makalu.
After the spring season ended however, Nims put a call out for support for his GoFund Me page. It seemed that despite his success in the Himalaya, he was running low on cash and no major sponsors had stepped up to assist him monetarily. For a time, it seemed like his chances of continuing this year were running low and while he maintained his plans to travel to Pakistan to continue with Phase 2, it wasn’t clear if he would have the funds he needed to handle the logistics.
Last week, Nims showed up in Base Camp on Nanga Parbat in an uncharacteristically low-profile fashion. He didn’t announce his arrival on social media, nor was he sharing much about his plans.
He would then join the rope-fixing team in helping install the lines to the summit and reach the top of Nanga not long after. He had climbed his seventh 8000-meter mountain in just a few months time. Still, questions remained about what his plans were and whether or not he had the support he needed to continue. Those questions were apparently answered today via his Facebook page.
In a post shared to that page earlier Nims indicates that Bremont Watches has stepped up to lend him a hand, securing the funds he needs to continue moving forward with what is now known as the Bremont Project Possible.
Indeed, he is even featured prominently on their website as a brand ambassador. This is apparently all he needed to continue pursuing his goal and the Bremont sponsorship has helped remove a large obstacle to his success.
Nims also says in that same post that he was low-key about his plans for Pakistan in an effort to maintain security. He doesn’t go into any details beyond that, but his career as a Gurkha soldier may lead him to believe he could be a target while in the country.
So far, all has gone well and reports indicate that he has left Nanga Parbat and is currently in BC on the Gasherbrums. I’d expect he’ll try to to knock both of those mountains off in a single traverse, but we’ll have to see what happens. From there, I’d guess Broad Peak would be next, followed by K2. He hopes to finish up this phase of the project by August 1.
This is good news for those of us who have been following Nims over the past few months. It may be that this project proves too grueling for him and he isn’t able to reach his goal of climbing all of the 8000-meter peaks in a seven month period.
But, I would have hated to see the attempt end because of funding and logistical challenges rather than giving him a fair shot at all of those summits. Now, we can see if it truly is possible and it should be a lot of fun to follow along and find out.