If you were told that climbing Mount Everest would be an ‘easy’ climb then you would probably think that you were talking to someone who had completely lost their mind but for Nims Purja the climb up the highest mountain in the world is one that he has already done – twice within 2 weeks!
The 14 mountains in his schedule have not been selected because of their technical challenge, nor because they are adjacent but rather for the one thing they have in common – they are all above 8,000m, the 14 highest mountains in the world above sea level.
In mountain climbing terminology above 8,000m is known as ‘the death zone’. This is where there is such reduced oxygen that humans are unable to breathe effectively. This is the area where most climbers have died.
This is also the zone where Nims will achieve his feat of human endurance.
The ‘Project Possible’ mountains are within the Himalaya, created over 50 million years ago when the tectonic plates of India & Eurasia collided. The movement of these plates continues today and it is said that Mount Everest is still growing.
This movement inevitably means that each climb can be different, even on the same routes. During the earthquake in 2015 the famous Hillary step, a rocky outcrop just below the summit, collapsed thus changing this route forever.
The weather will be the challenge that Nims and his team will face everyday. Currently on Annapurna Nims has fixed lines to Camp 4 and just when an attempt on the summit looked possible the weather closed in.
“I won’t risk safety for the sake of stupidity”, said Nims as the team waits in Camp 2 for the weather to clear, “Every climber has to balance what they can control – their own capabilities, their goals and plans – with the elements of nature that you cannot control.
My aim is to complete this project successfully. To do this I must be prepared to adapt my planned timescale if it is needed but I am confident that I can achieve this world record in the 7 months I have already planned.”
Having experienced 8 avalanches already Nims and his team have had the ‘reality checks’ of what they are about to face but with mental resilience that all things are possible the wait for the summit window will be seized at the earliest opportunity.
The 14 Mountains are:
1. Mount Everest 8,850m
2. K2 8,611m
3. Kanchenjunga 8,586m
4. Lhotse 8,516m
5. Makalu 8,485m
6. Cho Oyu 8,201m
7. Dhaulagiri 8,167m
8. Manaslu 8,163m
9. Nanga Parbat 8,126m
10. Annapurna 8,091m
11. Gasherbrum I 8,080m
12. Broad Peak 8,051m
13. Gasherbrum II 8,035m
14. Shishapangma 8,027m