Toothaches and Puja Ceremonies on Shishapangma

If you’ve been following the Nirmal “Nims” Purja saga closely over the past six months, you’ve probably also been wondering how things have been going over the past few days. After all, the former Gurkha soldier is on his 14th — and final — 8000-meter peak as he looks to wrap up his Project Possible endeavor on schedule. But even though the end is in sight for this amazing accomplishment, we’ll all have to be a bit patient for a little while longer, as bad weather and a toothache are making things difficult in Base Camp at the moment.

Yesterday, Nims posted to Facebook saying that he was having “massive trouble” with one of his wisdom teeth and that it was “BLODDY so painful and it’s getting me fever..” That’s not a good combination to have dental issues while at high altitude, so no doubt he is feeling some serious pain. Hopefully that will subside long enough for him to complete his climb up the 8027-meter (26,289 ft) Shishapangma, bringing an end to his quest to climb all 14 8000-meter peaks in just seven months.

Apparently, Purja isn’t the only one who is suffering. In the same update, Nims says that his friend and climbing partner Mingma David Sherpa is also suffering from a bad cold. That’s also not something you want at high altitude, where it is already difficult to breathe even before you have to deal with all of the things that a cold brings along with it. Fortunately, the boys have a few days to recover, as high winds are currently keeping them from going too high up the mountain. Right now, 100 km/h (62 mph) winds are hitting the upper flanks of Shishapangma, which is far too dangerous to climb in. The forecast says that those winds will abate over the weekend, potentially clearing the way for a summit push early next week.

To that end, the team held their puja ceremony today. This is the traditional Sherpa ceremony that is performed before all major climbs, with a local buddhist lama asking the mountain permission to safely climb it before the expedition truly begins. With that ceremony out of the way, the men are now free to go higher than BC and they intend to do starting tomorrow. The plan is to shuttle gear up to Camp 1 and return to Advanced Base Camp tomorrow. If that goes as planned, they’re likely to look for a summit window to open sometime after Saturday so they can move into the final phase of Project Possible.

We’re getting close now folks. In a few days time we should see Nims cap his extraordinary year in the mountains.

1 thought on “Toothaches and Puja Ceremonies on Shishapangma”

  1. So sorry to hear that about Nims. I hope it’s not an abscessed tooth requiring a root canal. The pain level associated with that would be acute. Extremely painful.
    Thank you for the update and for keeping us all informed.

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