Project Possible - Nirmal Purja, a Nepali Ex-soldier carved mountaineering history

On October 29th, Nirmal Purja etched his name in mountaineering history by becoming the fastest person to conquer every mountain on Earth over 8000 metres. Nirmal climbed all fourteen “8000ers”, called the ‘death zone’ mountains from Everest in the eastern Himalayas to K2 in Pakistan’s Karakorum mountains in just 189 days.

This feat is considered the epitome of mountaineering aspirations since legendary Italian climber Reinhold Messner first completed this incredible feat in 1986, taking 16 years to do so. Since then, fewer than 40 climbers have followed in his footsteps. The previous record for speed was held by South Korean Kim Chang-ho, taking 7 years, 10 months and 6 days.

Purja made his first 8000er summit on April 23, 2019 and completed the first six-summit phase of his “Project Possible 14/7” on May 24, 2019. The summited peaks included Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu, and Mount Everest.

Purja completed the second phase in July, 2019, climbing Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrum I, [Gasherbrum II, K2 and Broad Peak all in Pakistan.

The third and last phase started in September 2019. He summitted Cho Oyu -Tibet, Manaslu - Nepal, and Shishapangma - Tibet, China.

"Project Possible "- 14 /7

Phase I

  1. Annapurna summited 23rd April 2019
  2. Dhaulagiri summited 12th May 2019
  3. Kanchenjunga summited 15th May 2019
  4. Everest summited 22nd May 2019
  5. Lhotse summited 22nd May 2019
  6. Makalu summited 24th May 2019

Phase II
7. Nanga Parbat summited 3rd July 2019
8. Gasherbrum I summited 15th July 2019
9. Gasherbrum II summited 18th July 2019
10. K2 summited 24th July 2019
11. Broad Peak summited 26th July 2019

Phase III
12. Cho You summited 23rd September 2019
13. Manaslu summited 27th September 2019
14. Shishapangma summited 29th October 2019

On June 9, 2018 he was appointed a MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) by the Queen for his outstanding work in high altitude mountaineering.

With this expedition quest, the ex-Gurkha aims to garner attention for Sherpas. “As a Nepali, I hope my climbs put a spotlight on the talented climbers here,” he said.


Nirmal Purja was also the person who took the viral photo of the " traffic jam " of climbers on the world’s highest mountain, Mt Everest. He was not alone on Everest, but there were 320 others summiting the peak.


Incredible achievement!! Breaking the record from 7yrs 10months 6 days to just 6 months 6 days, seems to be humanly impossible.

Purja has also earned respect for deviating from summits to rescue others even as the clocks ticked, including a Malaysian climber on Mount Annapurna.


To me Messner’s achievement ranks higher. It took him16 years in an era when there must have been very little ground / air support, less advanced equipment and lack of accurate weather conditions reports.

Reinhold Messner


This spring 11 people lost their lives while climbing Mount Everest. The total Everest death toll is more than 300 people since explorers first started climbing the mountain in the early 1900s. Dead bodies litter Mount Everest because it’s so dangerous and expensive to get them down.

Ten years ago, a climber had to spend up to $65,000 to get on an Everest team. Today, the cost has come down to well under $30,000. Apart from the reduced cost there is increased / better ground (Sherpas) and helicopter support as well as today’s climber is better equipped to scale new heights. At the same time there is an increasing number of inexperienced expedition companies, mismanagement and corruption at local level.

Moreover, the Nepalese government in order to commercialize the boom, has no limits on permits issued. There is no minimum qualification required to scale the mountain. As a result every thrill seeking adventurer is issued a permit, resulting in traffic jam, with more climbers than Everest can safely handle.

Today money can buy access but mother nature has the last word. So, people need to respect mother nature in their personal quest.


Nirmal Purja climbs world’s 14 highest peaks in record-breaking 189 days


Listen to Nirmal Purja talk about Project Possible - The Power of Possible :raised_hands: