Himalaya Fall 2019: Nims Summits Manaslu, Gets 13th 8000-Meter Peak

Despite the fact that I have already written a fairly extensive update on the Himalaya today, I thought this news deserved its own post. Lat Friday, Nirmal “Nims” Purja took one more step towards achieving his goal of climbing all 14 8000-meter peaks in a seven month period by reaching the top of Manaslu. Now, just one mountain remains, but it seems increasingly likely that he won’t even get the chance to step foot on that peak.

The summit of Manaslu came last Friday – September 27 – after the major wave of climbers reached the top the day before. On Thursday, more than 100 summited the mountain, with another 50 or so following suit the next day. Nims was amongst that group, topping out around 7:50 AM Friday morning.

With the successful summit of Manaslu, Purja now has 13 of the 14 8000 meter peaks on his resume, but more impressively he’s done it in record time. It has taken him just 158 days to scale all of those mountains, which is well head of the current record, which is held by Korean climber Kim Chang-ho. He completed his quest for all of the world’s high mountains in 2013, spending seven years, 10 months, and six days doing so. Legendary Polish climber Jerzy Kukuczka is second on that list, requiring seven years, 11 months and 14 days to climb them all, finishing up in 1987.

Nims isn’t quite done yet of course, as he still has to summit Shishapangma in Tibet to finish his Project Possible initiative. The problem is, China has closed Shishapangma to climbing this fall, preventing Purja from even giving it a go. There have reportedly been a number of attempts to lobby the Chinese government to provide Nims and his team with a permit, but so far those efforts appear to have fallen on deaf ears. It isn’t too late however and the climbing season will last for at least another month, so it is possible that a permit will be issued, although right now it seems unlikely.

With that in mind, Nims may turn his attention to a different peak instead. According to The Himalayan Times, Purja may attempt to climb Gyachung Kang, the 15th tallest mountain in the world. The lesser-known mountain stands just below the 8000-meter mark at 7952 meters (26,089 ft). And while it isn’t Shishapangma – the 14th highest mountain in the world by the way – it is still a worth challenge to wrap up Project Possible for 2019 and set his sights on Shish next year.

Stay tuned for more updates. Nims isn’t done yet and he isn’t giving up. More to come on this story I’m sure.

Kraig Becker