Phase 01

May 28, 2019

Project Possible Phase 01

It was quite a start to the project, the clock officially began ticking with the ascent of Annapurna, considered by many as the most statistically dangerous of the 8,000m peaks. There have been fewer than 200 successful summits of the mountain, and 61 people have lost their lives trying. But Nims and his support team summited 23 April 2019.

After returning to base camp with a few hours of celebration, the team were thrust into a situation that would become all too familiar as the project unfolded. They had just received word of a stranded climber high on the slopes of Annapurna who had been separated from an accompanying expedition and left without food, water or an oxygen bottle for 40 hours.

Leave no man behind

A helicopter arrives into camp and says the climber was still alive. Guided by his mantra ‘leave no-man behind’ Nims, put his own project objectives to one side, gathered his team and got dropped into Camp 3 via long line. From there, the time to reach the stricken climber would ordinarily take 16 hours; they reached him in just 4. There was no thought of the World Record or personal gain - this was about saving a fellow climber, a stranded human being. They successfully evacuated him to Kathmandu and then Singapore. It was a high-risk rescue that ensured that Dr Chin was surrounded by his family when he sadly passed away from his injury’s days later.

Nims preparing for a heli long line drop to begin the rescue mission on Annapurna, just hours after returning from the summit

The project continued with successful ascents of Dhaulagiri and Kanchenjunga, completed in just three days. However, the rescue scenario came into play once more during the descent on Kanchenjunga when, at 8450 metres, the team found a Sherpa and an Indian climber who’d run out of oxygen. Soon after they found a third climber from the same party who was suffering from HACE (high-altitude cerebral edema) meaning that they then sacrificed their own oxygen putting themselves in a position of potential danger.

Nims directed his team in a calculated rescue. They remained with the climbers and started radioing for help. After several hours waiting, the situation started to take its toll on the rescue team, Gesman started showing signs of frostbite, then a few hours later Mingma developed symptoms of HACE which forced them both to retreat back down.

Nimsdai Purja MBE
High altitude expedition leader

The most important thing is safety - for every person on the mountain, not just your own.

After 10 hours, Nims realised that no other support was coming. They were only about half an hour from Camp 4, but inevitably with no new supplies coming up the mountain, oxygen ran out. Neither of the Indian climbers made it off Kanchenjunga alive that day, despite superhuman efforts from the Project Possible team.

Incredibly, after this ordeal, Nims who was beginning to feel the effects of an ascent, descent and rescue still had more to contend with before returning to the safety of base camp. Yet another report came in of a fourth climber showing signs of HACE and wandering aimlessly on the mountain. Nims and a Sherpa located him, then took him down to camp 4 and handed him over. It was finally time to leave this mountain and the expedition moved onto to its next goal; Everest.

Aiming higher than before

Next came an attempt to beat Nims’ own record for consecutively reaching the summits of Everest, Lhotse and Makalu in 5 days.

Nims's photograph seen around the world – Climbers queue on Everest’s southwest ridge to summit. Copyright: Nimsdai Purja MBE

Nearing the summit of Everest, the team was on track – but then came an incident that caught the world’s attention: a bottleneck of mountaineers queuing near the legendary Hillary Step on the south side of this iconic mountain. Due to the sheer volume of people on a single rope, Nims and his team stepped in to take control of the traffic, yet again prioritising the welfare of other climbers over his personal goals. Despite a 7½-hour delay in reaching the summit of Everest, Nims smashed his own World Record, summiting the three peaks in an extraordinary 48 hours. This marked the end of Phase 01 of the project, 7 x 8000m peaks in a staggering 4 weeks. The doubters were now beginning to believe, it was a well-timed opportunity to break from the mountains and continue the fund-raising campaign. Continue reading Phase 02.

Keep reading

Phase 02
August 2, 2019
Phase 03
October 29, 2019
Achieve Your New Possible