“Testing physical limits was exactly my hope in 2018, when I announced a plan to challenge the previous best time for climbing Earth’s 14 death zone peaks. The benchmark had been set in 2013 by a Korean mountaineer Kim Chang-ho, in a record time of seven years, 10 months, and six days. Polish climber Jerry Kukuczka had achieved the same feat in 1987 in a similar time frame of seven years, 11 months, and 14 days.
Although those men had established the record before I came along, the idea of a speed record for such a dangerous feat wasn’t something other climbers had really attempted. It was a wild idea, and aiming to shave away so much time seemed absurd—perhaps beyond what was reasonably possible.
But I wanted to try. And to do so, I quit the British military, where I served as a Gurkha soldier for several years before joining the Special Boat Service (SBS)—a wing of the special forces and an elite group of soldiers operating in some of the most lethal battlefields on Earth. Walking out of my career felt risky, but I was prepared to gamble everything on my ambition.
Fueled by my belief in myself, I treated the challenge like a military mission. During the planning phase, I’d even named my attempt ‘Project Possible.’ The title later came to feel like a one-fingered salute toward the people who wouldn’t, or couldn’t, believe in my dream. There were plenty of them—doubters appeared everywhere, and even the more supportive voices sounded skeptical at times. In 2019, an article on the Red Bull website said my goal as an unknown climber was as likely as a ‘swim to the moon.’ Still, I believed differently.”
~ Nims Purja from Beyond Possible
Nims Purja is one of my new heroes.
I watched his Netflix documentary 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible. (← Great sub-title, eh?)
I loved it so much that I looked to see if he had a book so I could dig in and share his story and wisdom via a Note. And... Here we are.
I HIGHLY recommend the Netflix documentary. And, if you enjoy that, I think you’ll also really enjoy the book. (Get a copy here.)
As per the back flap of the book, Nims Purja is a celebrated Nepali climber who holds a number of mountaineering world records. He served in the British Armed Forces as a Nepalese Gurkha and then as a soldier in the Special Boat Service, an elite special forces unit of the Royal Navy.
As I read the book, I was thinking Nims and David Goggins are soul brothers. Imagine Goggins, a former U.S. Navy SEAL, if he was into mountaineering instead of long-distance running (and other crazy endurance activities) and you’ve got Nims. Two incredibly inspiring human beings.
The book is PACKED with Big Ideas and inspiring stories. I’m excited to share a few of my favorites so let’s jump straight in!
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