Ex-special forces soldier in record-breaking mountain climbing bid

Nirmal Purja will attempt to summit the 14 highest mountains in the world in seven months.
Nirmal Purja will attempt to summit the 14 highest mountains in the world in seven months. Nirmal Purja will attempt to summit the 14 highest mountains in the world in seven months.

A former special forces soldier will be attempting to summit the 14 highest mountains on Earth in seven months to break a 31-year-old record.

Nirmal Purja, known as Nims, aims to smash the current record – which stands at seven years, 11 months and 14 days – set by Polish climber Jerzy Kukuczka.

On the way, he also plans to defeat at least seven speed world records on mountains over 8,000m high.

Nirmal Purja holds three Guinness World Records for climbing mountains in the Himalayas (Nirmal Purja/PA)

“I am doing this because I believe I can, I am the one in this world who can do it,” he told the Press Association.

“It’s called Project Possible because I believe in the power of the possible, if you believe in your ability and fully go into it, you can make the possible, possible.”

He will head out to the Himalayas on March 15 with the support of a rotating team of Nepalese climbers on each mountain.

Nirmal Purja will begin his challenge on March 15 (Nirmal Purja/PA)

During the first phase, he hopes to climb Mount Everest, aiming to complete the first six peaks by June 1.

After that he will progress to the second highest mountain, K2, for phase two and tackle another five mountains by August 1.

The final phase will begin on September 1, with plans to finish the final three peaks by November 1.

Nims served in the British military for 16 years, 10 of which were spent in the special forces, and he was awarded an MBE by the Queen in 2018 for his achievement in extreme high-altitude mountaineering.

Gurkha soldier Nirmal Purja holding a banner at the summit of Mount Everest in 2017 (Nirmal Purja/PA)

He is a cold weather warfare specialist, and said he was the first Gurkha to climb Everest while serving in the British military.

He also holds three existing Guinness World Records for the fastest consecutive summits of Everest, Lhotse and Makalu in five days, the fastest time from the summit of Everest to the summit of Lhotse, and he was the first person to summit Everest twice, Lhotse once and Makalu once, in the same season.

In 2016, he broke mountaineering conventions to rescue a climber left in the “Everest death zone”, bringing her to safety alone. She is alive and well, living with her family in India.

The project also has the backing of SAS: Who Dares Wins chief instructor Ant Middleton who has voiced his support on Twitter.

Nims said: “He is one of the sponsors, he is one of the brothers. But I also have support from the ambassador of Nepal to England.”

Nims is aiming to raise £750,000, and has set up a GoFundMe campaign to achieve his goal. The money raised will be donated to children in need in Nepal and mindfulness charities.

Further information is available at projectpossible.co.uk.