Nirmal “Nims” Purja is one of the most celebrated mountaineers globally and has multiple climbing world records to his name. In 2019, Nims embarked on an almost improbable task of climbing all peaks above 8,000 metres within seven months. Fittingly, Nims named this undertaking “Project Possible.” Netflix’s ‘14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible’ charts his incredible journey across those mountains. So, if you’re curious to know more about him, we’ve got you covered.
Who is Nirmal Purja?
Nims was born in the Myagdi district in Nepal. About his childhood, he said, “I grew up in Chitwan, which is the flattest and warmest part of Nepal. It’s almost sea level. We were a really poor family in a small house, with chickens next door. I didn’t even have flip-flops. That changed when my two brothers got into the Gurkhas.” Nims was the youngest and was sent to boarding school, where he did pretty well. However, just like his brothers, Nims wanted to join the Gurkha regiment.
Nims did so in 2003 at the age of 18, and about six years later, he became the first-ever Gurkha to join the United Kingdom Special Boat Service. Nims was a part of many military operations across the world, and in the documentary, he talked of getting shot at by a sniper during a mission. His love and passion for mountain climbing began towards the end of 2012 when he trekked to the base camp of Mount Everest while on leave from work. Realizing that he had a natural ability to climb, Nims continued to take on many other peaks.
In 2018, Nims quit the military to pursue climbing full-time. In 2019, Nims planned to scale all 14 peaks above 8,000 metres within seven months. The earlier record was seven years and ten months. But before Nims could set off on his journey, he faced an uphill battle when it came to funding. Ultimately, Nims remortgaged his house to raise some money, and in April 2019, Nims and his team began their first climb at Annapurna in Nepal.
Nims stated of the mission, “I wanted to show the world what’s humanly possible if you put your mind, heart, and soul into it. And I wanted to highlight the names of the Nepalese climbers. For the last 100 years, we’ve been in the background, but high-altitude mountaineering – eight-thousanders – that is our ground. I felt I needed to do something about this. That’s what gives me energy.”
Where is Nirmal Purja Now?
Nims achieved his dream of scaling all 14 peaks by finishing Project Possible in six months and ten days. He faced a slight hiccup when it came to climbing Mt Shishapangma in China because it was closed. But thanks to the Nepalese government, China gave Nims and his team a special permit in October 2019. After scaling the last of the fourteen mountains, Nims said in a statement, “It has been a grueling but humbling six months, and I hope to have proven that anything is possible with some determination, self-belief, and positivity.”
During Nims’ climbs, he also rescued many other lost mountaineers. He garnered even more accolades in January 2021 when he and his team became the first to scale K2 in Pakistan during the winter. Nims took it a step further by getting to the summit without supplementary oxygen. He now lives in Hampshire, England, with his wife, Suchi. Nims was also awarded the MBE in 2018. In March 2020, he announced Nimsdai, which focused on sharing his extensive mountaineering knowledge through climbing expeditions with him.
Read More: Where is Suchi Purja Now?