by Vince Juico
Is mountaineering or mountain climbing a sport? According to flypgs.com, “Mountaineering, otherwise known as mountain climbing, is a very popular outdoor sport. There are thousands of mountains in the world, all with their own unique terrain, their own challenges and excitements.”
Topendsport.com says, “Mountaineering describes the sport of mountain climbing. This sport is all about challenge and perseverance. This is about putting both hands and feet onto rocks or ice to reach the summit.”
Nirmal “Nims” Purja, a Nepalese-born naturalized British citizen, is a mountaineering world record holder. Nims made it to the summits of 14 8,000 meter (26,000 feet) mountains in 6 months and 6 days beating his target of 7 months by almost 30 days.
The documentary “14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible” is a story of the triumph of the human spirit despite insurmountable challenges and adversity. Purja brought the sport of mountaineering to new heights and brought him into the conversation of one of the greatest mountaineers ever.
Nims faced a plethora of peaks and valleys in the 6 months wherein he battled elements like the cold wind, ice, and avalanche. One avalanche he faced was an avalanche of rejections, I’m sorry’s and no’s. Purja, with the support of his wife Suchi, re-mortgaged their house to have the resources to fund the expedition.
Nims also had to grapple with his mother’s health and the death of one of his men on their very first mountain.
Nims Purja was also a Gurkha, according to gwt.org.uk, “The Gurkhas are soldiers from Nepal who are recruited into the British Army, and have been for the last 200 years. Gurkhas are known to be as fearless in combat as they are good natured in daily life. To this day, they remain renowned for their loyalty, professionalism and bravery.”
Nims is the first Gurkha to join the elite British unit, the Special Boat Service or SBS.
Project Possible 14/7 was a mission to climb 14 8,000 meter summits in 7 months. He did in 6 months and 6 days with supplemental or bottled oxygen thought Purja conquered K2 without the use of supplemental oxygen, the first mountaineer to do it.