One of the biggest stories of last year was, without a doubt, the record-setting series of expeditions undertaken by Nims Purja. It was almost exactly a year ago when we first burst onto the scene, boldly proclaiming his plans to climb all 14 8000-meter peaks in less than a year. That seemed like an outlandish goal at the time, as the previous record was more than seven years. But as the 2019 climbing seasons continued to unfold, all Purja did was continue to astound with his tenacity, endurance, and focus. By the time the fall came and and went, he had accomplished exactly what he had set out to do, redefining our previous thoughts on what was possible in the big mountains.
Now, Men’s Journal has taken a deeper look at what went into Purja’s massive undertaking, while also attempting to put it all into perspective. The article recaps the undertaking nicely and does a good job of explaining the difficulty involved to readers who may not know much about mountaineering. It also mixes in some good quotes from the likes of Conrad Anker and Purja himself, who tells us the biggest challenges weren’t the climbs themselves, but all of the fund raising he needed to do in order to pay for what he called Project Possible.
The Men’s Journal story doesn’t shy away from the somewhat controversial reaction to Purja’s accomplishment either. While most of us marveled at what he managed to do in such a short time, other alpinists weren’t always quite so impressed. Nims was lauded for this logistical expertise and physical endurance, but many felt that it wasn’t as impressive of an accomplishment as a significant first ascent for example. Others called on the former Gurkha soldier to climb without oxygen or push the limits of the sport in some way, often ignoring the fact that he had done just that by redefining what could be accomplished in the big mountains over the course of a year.
Now, Nims has moved on to other things. He’s a full-time mountain guide and a legitimate celebrity in climbing circles. That said however, he is still planning some big things in the Himalaya and promises that he isn’t done pushing himself just yet. That includes a potential attempt to climb Cho Oyu from the Nepali side of the mountain. Traditionally, that peak has only been climbed from Tibet, but Purja hopes to open a new route from the south, which could present know opportunities for Nepali guide services to lead commercial teams to that peak. Maybe that will gain him a measure of respect from mountaineering’s old guard at long last.
Read the full article here.