Just when it looked like politics and bureaucracy would prevent Nirmal “Nims” Purja from completing his Project Possible expedition, along comes some good news in his favor. It appears that the Chinese government operating in Tibet will now grant him a climbing permit, allowing Purja and his team a chance to climb Shishapangma this fall. This gives the former Gurkha soldier an opportunity to complete his goal of summiting all 14 8000-meter peaks in a seven month period.
Regular readers of The Adventure Blog already know that Nims has been knocking off 8000-meter peaks at an astonishing rate. Since the spring of this year he has climbed 13 of those mountains in just 158 days. The last mountain on his list is Shishapangma, which is the 14th highest peak in the world and a tricky, yet relatively easy climb compared to some of the other mountains he has already summited. The problem is Shishapangma falls completely inside Tibet and the Chinese government there had shut the mountain down to all climbers this fall citing safety concerns. This has been particularly disappointing for those of us who have been following the progress of the Project Possible team, as it looked like Nims and company wouldn’t even get a crack at the climb due to forces beyond their control. Thankfully, that now appears to not be the case.
According to The Himalayan Times, Chinese mountaineering authorities have agreed to issue a permit to Nims to attempt Shishapangma. The article quotes Dawa Sherpa, the Managing Director at Climbalaya Treks, a having received word that the permit would be granted at the request of the Nepali government. “Chinese authorities have clearly conveyed me a message that Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu will do necessary arrangement to secure a Shishapangma climbing permit for Purja and his team of Project Possible at the earliest,” Dawa says. His company operates within Tibet and will handle the logistics of the climb apparently.
Purja has yet to comment on the news, but will likely update his social media outlets once the permit is in hand. He typically keeps his plans close to the vest until he’s ready to go, but he is currently preparing to fly back to Kathmandu via helicopter from Manaslu Base Camp. It is likely that will be a brief stop over before leaving for Tibet provided the paperwork for his climb comes through in the next day or two.
If the permit is issued as expected, Nims now has the entire month of October to complete the Shishapangma expedition and still achieve his goal. That would put him more than seven years faster than current record holder for completing the 14 8000-meter peaks.
Stand-by for further updates.