A new Netflix documentary chronicles the lengths Nirmal Purja went to as he attempted to break one of mountaineering’s toughest records
Another mountaineer might have scoffed. They might have raised a frostbitten thumb over their pack-strapped shoulder at the 8,000m peak in the distance and the set of tracks winding down from its snow-capped pinnacle to their soggy boots and huffed, Can I at least catch my breath? They might have waved off the notion of venturing back to that frozen hellhole to rescue a stranded climber, who doubtless would have been alert to the myriad risks of scaling the world’s 10th-highest point. On top of all that Nirmal Purja had other mountains to climb – and the clock was ticking. Loudly.
But Purja, who goes by Nims for short, isn’t built like the rest of us. For a start, there’s something deep within him that simply won’t countenance the idea of leaving a person in peril. So even though a fresh cresting of Annapurna I, the giant in the Himalayan massif with a notoriously deadly legacy, had wrung him out physically and psychically, Nims was dutifully airlifted back up the peak with his crack team of Sherpas. As the pitch dark night and bitter wind pushed the already freezing temperatures even lower, Nims and his teammates had to slap themselves to stay awake to finish the mission in time for the next helicopter pass – which they made with five minutes to spare.
Written by Andrew Lawrence
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2021/dec/03/nirmal-purja-mountaineer-14-peaks-documentary under the title “14 Peaks: the quest to climb the world’s highest mountains in less than a year”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.