Nepali claims record for world’s 14 high­est peaks

The Korea Times - - SPORTS -

KATH­MANDU (AFP) — A Nepali moun­taineer on Tues­day smashed the record for sum­mit­ing the world’s 14 high­est peaks, rac­ing up all “8000ers” in just seven months, ac­cord­ing to a post on his so­cial me­dia ac­counts.

Nir­mal Purja com­pleted the climb of the 14 moun­tains, all over 8,000 me­tres (26,250 feet) in seven months, the post said. The pre­vi­ous record was al­most eight years.

“MIS­SION ACHIEVED! says @ nims­dai from the sum­mit of #Shisha­pangma,” read the post on Purja’s Face­book page, re­fer­ring to the fi­nal peak in China.

Pol­ish climber Jerzy Kukuczka com­pleted the same feat after seven years, 11 months and 14 days in 1987 after Italy’s le­gendary Rein­hold Mess­ner be­came the first to scale the 14 peaks a year ear­lier.

South Korean Kim Chang-ho com­pleted the chal­lenge one month slower than Kukuczka — although un­like Kukuczka, who died in a climb­ing ac­ci­dent in 1989, he never used sup­ple­men­tary oxy­gen.

The 36-year-old Purja, a for­mer mem­ber of the Gurkhas — a unit of Nepalis re­cruited into the Bri­tish army — as well as the elite Spe­cial Boat Ser­vice, kicked off his am­bi­tious “Project Pos­si­ble” in April.

In the first part of his record at­tempt, Purja climbed An­na­purna, Dhaula­giri, Kanchen­junga, Ever­est, Lhotse and Makalu — among the high­est of the “8000ers” — in just one month.

A month later, he headed to Pak­istan for the sec­ond part, where he first tack­led the no­to­ri­ous Nanga Par­bat at 8,125 me­tres.

Bat­tling sleep de­pri­va­tion to meet his tar­get, Purja said he was al­most sprint­ing up and down five of Pak­istan’s high­est peaks in­clud­ing Gasher­brum I, Gasher­brum II and K2, the sec­ond tallest in the world.

Twenty-three days later he was stand­ing atop Broad Peak, his fifth and fi­nal moun­tain of the sec­ond phase.

Purja be­gan his fi­nal push in Septem­ber, reach­ing the tops of Cho Oyu and Manaslu within a week.

When he first told oth­ers about his new quest, “ev­ery­one was laugh­ing at me and say­ing ‘how it will be pos­si­ble’?” Purja told AFP in a re­cent in­ter­view.

“It is about trust­ing your abil­ity,” he had said as he re­laxed in Kath­mandu wait­ing to as­cend the fi­nal peak.

“You al­ways need to have (a) pos­i­tive mind­set be­cause some­times things will go wrong.”

He also said that he wanted to use his feats to in­spire the next gen­er­a­tion of Nepali clim­bers to break his records.

Sher­pas — Nepalis who of­ten work as guides for for­eign moun­taineers — are the back­bone of the coun­try’s lu­cra­tive climb­ing in­dus­try, but don’t at­tract as much at­ten­tion or ac­co­lades as their in­ter­na­tional com­pan­ions.

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