Nepal | January 23, 2020

Nirmal Purja heads to Dhaulagiri for no-O2 summit; Camp IV set up on Mt Kanchenjunga

Rajan Pokhrel

Climbers acclimatisation rotation on Mt Kanchenjunga. Photo Courtesy: Hernan Leal

KATHMANDU: A former Gurkha soldier, who is on his mission to complete all 14 peaks above 8,000 metres in just seven months, today left for Mt Dhaulagiri to attempt to climb the 8,167-metre peak.

Talking to THT, UK’s former special forces soldier Nirmal ‘Nims’ Purja, 34, said that he would attempt Mt Dhaulagiri without using supplemental oxygen. Purja has already climbed Mt Annapurna, the first of 14 mountains, last week. Purja said that Mt Dhaulagiri would be the second mountain he was going to attempt as part of the ‘Project Possible’.

Purja would be leading a five-member Nepali team comprising Mingma David Sherpa, Lakpa Dendi Sherpa, Tenzing Sherpa and Ramesh Gurung as other members of the expedition, Thaneswor Guragai, an official at Seven Summit Treks, said.

“As the only Nepali team attempting to climb Mt Dhaulagiri from its normal route this spring season, I will try to make it to the top without using supplemental oxygen,” Purja said, claiming that he used to carry oxygen tanks while climbing peaks to support other climbers in need. Purja recounted that he had offered his oxygen to an Indian climber to save her life in the Mt Everest death zone last spring season.

Nirmal Purja and Mingma David at the Annapurna summit. Photo: Hakon Asvang/Facebook

During the first phase, Purja plans to climb the first six peaks including Mt Everest by June 1 while he will then attempt to climb five other mountains including Mt K2 in the second phase by August 1. Then, his final attempt will begin in September with plans to climb the remaining three peaks by November 1.

According to the Department of Tourism, Purja-led expedition is the only team that obtained a permit to climb Mt Dhaulagiri via its normal route this spring season. Three alpinists – Slovakian climber Peter Hámor, 53, Romanian alpinists Horia Dan Colibasanu, 42 and 52-year-old Marius Gane – have already set up the base camp of Mt Dhaulagiri to attempt to climb the mountain via the still unclimbed Northwest Ridge.

Meanwhile, at least eight climbing Sherpas deployed by Peak Promotion Pvt Ltd, have successfully opened a climbing route from the base camp to Camp IV on Mt Kanchenjunga.

Babu Sherpa, Managing Director at Peak Promotion Pvt Ltd, who is now at Kanchenjunga base camp, told THT that the team would try to open the route to the summit point in a next few days. “If the weather allows, we plan to make the summit attempt before May 10,” Sherpa said.

According to him, there are 17 Indian climbers attempting to climb the world’s third highest peak this season. “This is the largest ever civilian expedition of Indian climbers on Mt Kanchenjunga,” he said, adding that Umesh Zirpe-led team would also be the first civil team from Maharashtra to scale the peak.

DoT’s record shows that at least 34 climbers representing six different teams have obtained climbing permits for Mt Kanchenjunga this season.

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