Nirmal (Nims) Purja MBE has a distinguished military career behind his name. Nims spent six of these years as a Gurkha. The other ten were spent as a member of the UK Special Forces (SBS). Since then, he has become a historic mountain climber with an ever-growing list of world record-breaking feats to his name. He is also known for conducting high-altitude rescue operations.
Although a Nepalese by birth, Nirmal (Nimsdai) Purja did not grow up in the shadow of the Himalayan Mountains. His young life saw him living in the flatlands of the country with no wish to climb mountains. His focus, instead, was to enter the ‘family business’, i.e., become a Gurkha in the British military like the rest of his family. This dream came to fruition in 2003 and when, at the age of eighteen years, he joined the Gurkhas.
But the younger Nirmal (Nimsdai) Purja was not satisfied with his success. With his mantra of #alwaysalittlehigher, he joined the UK Special Boat Service (SBS). He was the first Gurkha to do so. Mainly made up of Royal Marines Commandos and specialising in classified undercover raids, the unit is regarded one of the British military’s most elite.
His time in the SBS awakened his interest in mountaineering. It soon became a passion. In 2012, while on leave, he set out on a trek to Everest Base Camp. This experience fueled his ambitions for the mountains. He climbed his first summit shortly after. It was the 6119-meter Lobuche east.
His primary focus though was still his life with the military. His unit carried out many operations which ultimately lead to him taking on a role where he became the subject matter expert for extreme cold-climate warfare within the mountains. This period also helped him develop the skills needed to quickly evaluate situations and act in a manner that ensured the welfare of others while delivering the objective. He has thoroughly used these skills throughout his climbing career.
Although still in the military, his #alwaysalitthlehigher mindset became the driving force to climb mountains across the globe. It also led to his first Everest ascent. What made this achievement more remarkable was his selfless act of solo rescuing a stricken mountain climber high in the mountain’s death zone. This incident also made him decide to always climb with oxygen when navigating extreme heights so that he would always be able to help others.
A year after his Everest ascent, he led a Gurkha team on their first-ever Everest expedition. His main aim was to set a World Record doing so. He accomplished this in five days. And spurred him on to do the same with other mountains.
Nirmal (Nimsdai) Purja discovered that he had a natural physiological advantage when it came to mountain climbing. His body was much quicker at acclimatizing to high altitudes than most other climbers. This awareness fueled his ambitions further and ultimately led to him leaving the British military and pursuing a new dream. Nobody felt he could achieve it.
Project Possible was aimed at doing something no one else had ever done before. He wanted to climb the world’s fourteen highest peaks in seven months. The record at that time was just under eight years. He achieved his aim in a little over six months with a few weeks to spare. Project possible was documented as the Netflix Documentary “14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible”. Nirmal (Nimsdai) Purja also went on to write a book about his experiences titled ‘Beyond Possible”.
Although someone with a relatively short mountain climbing career, Nirmal (Nimsdai) Purja has managed to rack up an impressive number of world records. He was also awarded an MBE for outstanding achievement in extreme high-altitude mountaineering for his 2016 rescue for saving the Gurkha expedition from failing as well as his Project Possible record achievement in 2017.
An accomplished speaker, Nirmal (Nimsdai) Purja tells a story of challenge, hard work, and lessons learned that creates parallels with many different industries while appealing to a wide audience range. He tailors his talks to suit audience requirements by focusing on those areas relevant to their goals or business.
He lives in the UK and presents in English.
Achieve your new possible – Some of the many subjects covered include: