Nirmal Purja MBE, or ‘Nims’ as he is more widely known, is the youngest of 4 sons and was born in Dana, a small village over 300km west of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, in the Dhaulagiri zone and on the edge of the Annapurna Conservation Area.
Nestling at c. 2000m above sea level it could be argued that Nims was born with the physiology required to take on the altitudes of the worlds highest mountains.
But it was within the Chitwan National Park area, c.170km south west of Kathmandu, that Nims grew up.
Due to the lack of roads and the mountainous terrain Nims was born and grew up in there is a culture ensuring that everyone can look after themselves and support the community. With long walks to school or days treks to get to hospital the ability to survive on your own skills is something that Nims will be leaning on in the isolated moments as he heads for the summits.
Family is high on Nims priorities. While some may say that this record breaking speed climb is ‘about him’, it should be remembered that prior to starting all of this he has worked with the support of his family in the UK and on arrival in Nepal one of the first things Nims did was to seek the blessing of his mother.
In addition to his ‘nature’ elements of having been born at altitude, lived in the climate of Nepal, Nims also has the ‘nuture’ element required for this incredible feat of climbing endurance.
Following in the footsteps of 2 of his brothers, Nims joined the Brigade of Gurkhas and was trained to be one of the worlds most renowned of British soldiers. If this were not enough, Nims was selected to serve with the elite British Special Forces, the first Gurkha ever to do so.
This unique combination of ‘nurture’ and ‘nature’ is, arguably, what sets Nims apart from others who climb the 8,000-ers.
“You need to have both physical & mental endurance to climb any mountain, especially ones over 8,000m, but for me I believe that I am in the best position now to make this record”, said Nims, “It is about the recovery between the mountains which will be my physical challenge; then it will be the mental challenge to move on to the next mountain.
My training with the Special Boat Service has given me the best preparation for this challenge, particularly mentally but there will be elements beyond my control such as the weather.
For me, this project is about pushing myself to see what is possible within human endurance but I will not ‘fight’ Mother Nature. I respect her and in doing so I will be able to continue to completion of ‘Project Possible’.”
“I know when to push and when to wait. My aim is to complete this challenge and whilst I have made plans I will listen and watch Mother Nature. I have confidence in what both myself and my teams can achieve. We can all get up and down safely.”