Project Possible By Danni Levy
Nimral “Nimsai” Purja came out of nowhere to show the world how a seemingly impossible feat can be achieved with only sheer determination as fuel.
Fearless, fun-loving, and on a quest to push barriers past the extreme, the climber has gained worldwide recognition having successfully reached all fourteen of the world’s 8000-meter mountains in just seven months. Breaking the previous record of seven years, Nim shares the highs and lows of his accomplishments through Netflix documentary 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible.
With a team of skilled Sherpas by his side, Nim traverses Mount Everest, K2, and other iconic peaks through extreme weather, life-or-death decisions, and the emotional weight of his mother’s illness back home.
“When I started no one knew who I was, and no one thought I could complete this project in seven months. People said to me that it was impossible, that’s why I named it ‘Project Possible’.”
Whilst pushing human endurance to its limits, the climbers embark on a journey of sheer courage and perseverance. But despite having made the impossible possible, Nim says the real challenge for him was not the physical fight.
“I always say the climbing was the easy part,” he says. “Raising the money, the fundraising, was much harder. When I started no one knew who I was, and no one thought I could complete this project in seven months. People said to me that it was impossible, that’s why I named it ‘Project Possible’.”
“On the big mountains, in particular, you have to tell yourself that no matter what, you’re going to achieve your goals.”
Nim and his allies can be seen facing chilling cold temperatures as they battle the odds to triumph over adversity and reach great heights. HACE, or high-altitude cerebral edema, causes the brain to swell with fluid because of the physiological effects of traveling to a high altitude. The disorientation and nausea caused by this condition can be so unbearable, many climbers are forced to abandon their mission once it hits. But not Nim.
“HACE is a killer,” he says. “You have to go back down the mountain, that’s the only way to overcome it. But when you’re recovering, having a positive mindset and believing in yourself that you will heal quicker helps to get you back on your feet.”
During her Netflix interview, Nim’s wife speaks about the endless months for which he’d wake at 2 am, run 20kms with a weighted backpack, work all day, go to the gym and finally return home at 11 pm.
“I did those things because the goal was bigger than me,” says Nim. “The goal was to become the first Gurkha to be selected for Special Forces (SBS) and when your mission is about more than just you, you go for it. I wasn’t just representing myself; I was representing all the Gurkhas. No excuses, I never once said, ‘It’s raining so I’m not doing it,’ or ‘It’s cold’ or ‘I’m tired’. I focused on the bigger picture and believed in myself.”
Helping others is fundamental to Nim’s life mission as he relentlessly fights to contribute to human happiness and a sustained environment for all to enjoy. Having found unexpected notoriety, the climber has founded his own cause and never loses sight of those around him.
“Tonight we drink; tomorrow we plan”, Nim can be seen telling K2 climbers as he brings a renewed sense of self-belief to a camp who lay freezing, exhausted and beyond the realms of hope. This epic moment featured in the Netflix doc demonstrates just how a group of human beings, who’ve completely lost sight of their goal can be revived with an injection of energy from a skilled mentor.
“I love seeing others succeed,” says Nim. “When we arrived at K2 base camp, I could see the climbers were in rough shape. They had been through a lot and were feeling really negative. You have to believe in yourself, you have to bring that positive mindset and attitude,” he says. “On the big mountains, in particular, you have to tell yourself that no matter what, you’re going to achieve your goals.
“Part of being a leader is presenting yourself and showing people there’s another way. Because of us setting the fixed lines, those other climbers were able to summit. They achieved their new possible.”
No mission could be completed without the aid of proper nutrition, but forget chicken and rice if you’re on an ascent!
Nim attributes his endless energy and flawless prep to a traditional Nepali dish – Dal Bhat. The recipe, usually served as vegetarian, consists of rice and lentils, providing slow-release carbohydrates and plenty of vegetable-based proteins. Adding meat is optional. Known as ‘Dal Bhat Power 24 Hour’, the dish is particularly popular among trekkers, thanks to the energy and strength it offers. It is fibrous, which is ideal for sustained periods of mountaineering, and it only costs a few bucks to it throw together.
Nim’s foundation is a charity whose first mission is the Big Mountain Cleanup – to help remove waste from the mountains. During the autumn of 2021, the foundation brought down 500kg of rubbish from Manaslu. The charity also aims to help veterans to get into the mountains.
You can find out all about Nim’s Foundation and donate here: