Nirmal Purja is a Nepal-born mountaineer who is now a British citizen. After serving the British army for a few years, he started his career as a mountaineer in 2012.
Nirmal “Nims” Purja Red Bull.com was born on Monday, 25 July 1983 (age 38 years; as of 2021) in Dana, Myagdi, Nepal. Later, his family moved to Chitwan, Kathmandu, Nepal. His zodiac sign is Leo. He did his schooling at Small Heaven School, Bharatpur, Nepal. In 2012, he pursued a post-graduate diploma in Security and Risk Management at Loughborough University, Loughborough, England. LinkedIn- Nirmal Purja
Height (approx.): 5′ 8″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Brown
Parents & Siblings
His father worked as a soldier in the Gurkha army, and his mother was a farmer. His three elder brothers serve as soldiers in the Gurkha army. He has one sister.
Wife & Children
In 2006, he got married to Suchi Purja who is the daughter of a Gurkha soldier. She works as a dental therapist and is one of the directors at Mountain Philantrophy Limited in Eastleigh, Hampshire, England.
As a Soldier
In 2003, at the age of 18, he joined the Gurkha army as a soldier. In an interview, he shared that it was his childhood dream to join the Gurkha army.
After serving in the Gurkha army for six years, he joined the UK Special Boat Service (SBS) as a cold-weather warfare specialist and became the first Gurkha to do so. He resigned from the SBS as a Lance Corporal and joined the Special Air Services (SAS) unit in 2018.
As a Mountain Climber
While he was serving in the army, he developed an interest in mountain climbing. After leaving the Special Boat Service in 2012, he did his first trek to the Everest Base Camp and completed his trek to the 6119-metre Lobuche East Peak, Nepal. A year later, he did his first expedition to Mount Everest and led a team of Gurkhas in the trek. On 18 May 2014, he completed the Dhaulagiri summit (8,167 metres) within 15 days. Two years later, on 13 May 2016, he completed the Mount Everest summit and in the Gurkha expedition “G200E” on 15 May 2017, he led the 13 Gurkhas to Everest to commemorate 200 years of the services of Gurkha in the British Army. He completed his 14 mountains (more than eight thousand metre each) summit in seven months and his first mountain summit was completed on 23 April 2019. His first six-summit (Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Kanchenjunga, Mount Everest, Lhotse and Makalu) phase “Project Possible 14/7” on 24 May 2019.
In the project, he completed the last five summits in only 12 days. In July 2019, in the second phase, he climbed Nanga Parbat (8126 m), Gasherbrum I (8080 m), Gasherbrum II (8034 m), K2 (8611 metres), and Broad Peak (8047 m) in Pakistan. In the last phase, he climbed Cho Oyu (8188 m) and Manaslu (8163 m) in September 2019. On 1 October 2019, Nirmal, along with his team members, summit to Shishapangma (8027 m) with special permission of the Chinese government. On 16 January 2021, he climbed K2 (8,611 m) along with nine other Nepali mountaineers including Mingma David Sherpa, Mingma Tenzi Sherpa, Geljen Sherpa, Pem Chiri Sherpa, Dawa Temba Sherpa, Mingma Gyalje Sherpa (Mingma G), Dawa Tenjin Sherpa, Kilu Pemba Sherpa, and Sona Sherpa. Among all the team members, he was the only member to climb the mountain without taking supplemental oxygen. He is one of the directors at Mountain Philantrophy Limited in Eastleigh, Hampshire, England.
- Fastest ascent of fourteen eight-thousander mountains in a record time of six months and six days with supplemental oxygen (2019)
- Fastest ascent of Mount Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu in 48 hours (2019)
- First winter ascent of K2 (2019)
- Guinness World Record: First Person to summit Mt. Everest (twice), Lhotse (once) and Makalu (once) in one season in 17 days (2018)
- Climbing five fastest summits of the three highest mountains in the world, Everest, K2 and Kanchenjunga (2019)
- The fastest summit of the five highest mountains in the world, Everest, K2, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse and Makalu (2019)
- Fastest lower eight-thousanders, Gasherbrum 1, 2 and Broad Peak (2019)
- Fastest higher 8000ers, consecutive summits of Everest, Lhotse and Makalu in 48 hours (beats his previous record of 5 days) (2019)
- Guinness World Record: The fastest time from the Summit of Everest to the summit of Lhotse in 10 hours and 15 minutes (2019)
- Guinness World Record: Fastest consecutive summits of Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu taking a total of 5 days, 3 hours and 35 minutes (2019)
- Climbing 8000 m mountains in the spring season (2020)
- In an interview, while talking about his journey, he said,
As a kid in Nepal, I went barefoot because my family had nothing. That’s how I developed the resilience I needed for joining the Gurkhas, one of the most fearless forces in the British Army. Then against all odds, I became the first ever Gurkha soldier in more than 200 years of history to join the Special Boat Service where I served in the some of the world’s most dangerous warzones, kicking down doors to capture enemy gunmen and terrorist bomb makers.”
But elite combat wasn’t enough. I wanted more of a test. That’s where my next project came in, something nobody thought was possible – to climb all fourteen “death zone” mountains in seven months. The previous standard for conquering the world’s most dangerous peaks was seven years, ten months and six days. I smashed through that achievement in six months, breaking several world records in the process. I’d have been even quicker had I not been called in to lead four perilous, high-altitude rescue missions. I knew that to quit on the mountain was to die. Even though I’d only started my climbing a few years earlier, as a hobby, I found I was able to adapt quickly to the deadly conditions. I was rarely phased by the lung-burning temperatures or brutal winds and fatigue seemed to pass me by. Fear became irrelevant because I had belief. In the death zone, I came alive.”
- While he was in school, he used to participate in various sports like kick-boxing and basketball.
- During an interview, while talking about Nirmal, his school’s science teacher said,
While other students aspired to become doctors and engineers, he took sports very seriously.”
- He was appointed as the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth II on 9 June 2018 for his achievements in high altitude mountaineering.
- In May 2019, one of the photos taken by him (of the overcrowding on Mount Everest) was published in New York Times. During an interview, while talking about the photograph, Nirmal said,
I need to correct that one, the people’s perception, because only I know. If you compare the number of people who climb Everest to the number who climb Mt. Blanc, it is like only 2 percent. But people don’t talk about how crowded Mt. Blanc is. Also, the number who have climbed Everest is about the same per year since 2008. What happened in 2019 was the rope-fixing teams were slow, and there were only two good-weather days all season. Normally, you have the whole of May to climb. Now remember, all of the people on the mountain had sacrificed, worked hard and, in many cases, spent a lot of money to reach their dream of standing on top. So all of them went for the summit basically in one day. I got stuck in that traffic, too, and only took the picture as evidence to show how my own attempt at a world Everest/Lhotse speed record was impacted. The photo ended up sending the wrong message to the rest of the world. Hopefully that [kind of overcrowding] situation won’t happen again.”
- He had to sell his house in Britain to raise funds for the mountain expedition. During an interview, while talking about it, he said,
When I told people about the project, they laughed. They said it wasn’t possible. That’s why I named it Project Possible. I asked help from everyone – from my friends and relatives. I also launched a crowd funding campaign. think the biggest thing is about discovering your body, your limitations, and what you can do and what you can’t do,” he says. “That’s when you have the baseline and you operate from there. For me, as I said, I didn’t climb mountains since I was a kid, I was only into this field for like four or five years at that point and I’m still discovering more stuff about my body. That’s what I was investing in.”
- He has got a huge tattoo inked on his back which he has named Everence tattoo. The tattoo signifies his summit to the world’s tallest 14 mountains. On 27 December 2019, he shared a post of the tattoo on his Instagram with the caption,
I always wanted to have a tattoo but i never knew what I really wanted until I came to know about @everence.life . .Everence is a revolutionary technology that transforms a tattoo or a piece of jewelry into a way to carry a loved one special experience with you forever. .I had the DNA of my whole family added into my Everence tattoo. I chose DNA because it’s the most unique element of each of us. .It was a very easy process, all DNA was collected with a simple cheek swab kit. .For me there was 2 reasons why I got an @everence.life tattoo. One was to take my family into the journey that I was undertaking, the journey that no human being has ever taken before. I wanted to take them with me to places they would never see. And the second but most important: I knew I had to get back for my family at any costs. I knew I would push myself more then anything else but Equally I didn’t wanted to break that thin line between being brave and being stupid. Having their Everence with me was a constant reminder that no matter what, I was making it home to my family. .It’s a powerful product and recommend you check out what these guys are doing @everence.life for yourselves.”
- In 2020, his autobiography titled “Beyond Possible: One Soldier, Fourteen Peaks- My Life in the Death Zone”
- On 29 November 2021, a Netflix documentary was released on his mountain expeditions titled “14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible” was published.
- Nirmal Purja occasionally drinks alcohol.
- In an interview, while sharing his experience as a mountaineer, he said,
The biggest thing, what I said to you earlier, what the mountain teaches is humbleness. You’re not bigger than a mountain at the end of the day. The mountains stand tall, doesn’t matter how the weather is, how the storm is, whatever it is. It’s so neutral. We are human, we have emotions, we have everything. We have a lot to learn from the mountains.”
For me, when there is a critical moment, should I go to the summit or should I not, I am always honest to myself. Can I really do this? Or is it just because of my ego? Or is it just because I want to prove to the world or just because I want to show it or it’s just because I hope I can do it? The answer is, if you’re hoping and if there’s all that stuff, and if you’re not honest to yourself, you pull out. That’s the only reason you stay alive, being honest to yourself.”