SOF

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

A former special forces operator will be attempting to conquer 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 his way to history, he also plans to defeat at least seven-speed world records on mountains over 8,000m high.

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

Nims 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.

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. Gurkhas are known as one of the toughest soldiers in the world. They are born in Nepal but are become widely known as extraordinary warriors through the lines of the British Army.

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