MJ5: Climber Nims Purja on His Essential Gear, the Food He Eats on Every Expedition, and Climbing K2

Nims Purja during Project Possible Climb
Courtesy of Bremont / Project Possible / Nims Purja


Climber Nirmal “Nims” Purja is trying to do the impossible. As part of Bremont Project Possible, Purja is attempting to climb all 14 of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks in a single season, which would demolish the current record of eight years. (Update: Nims did it! He shared a post after completing the final climb, finishing the 14 peaks in 6 months and 6 days, beating the old record by 7 years.)

Earlier this year, Purja made his second ascent of Everest—capturing this now-viral photo of a traffic jam on the mountain in the process—and then finished off the first of his three phases of Project Possible, by climbing to the summit of the 27,940-foot Lhotse and 27,838-foot Makalu mountains.

The first phase included Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Kanchenjunga, Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu, while the second phase included Pakistan’s Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrum 1, Gasherbrum 2, K2, and Broad Peak, which Nims finished off in just nine days. The final phase includes Manaslu, Cho Oyu, and Shishapangma.

“For this next phase, I’m very excited for Cho Oyu because that’s the last mountain and I would like to open the route from the Nepal side,” Purja told Men’s Journal. “There’s no commercial route from there and it’s also really good for the Sherpas, for the Nepalese climbing community and for everybody. It will be much cheaper for those who want to climb Cho Oyu if they go from the Nepal side and I am very excited about that.”

VARIOUS Ice-capped massive and summit of Annapurna III Annapurna Region Nepal 2005, Nims Purja during Project Possible Climb Courtesy of Bremont / Project Possible / Nims Purja, Stefan Auth/imageBROKER/Shutterstock
Courtesy of Bremont / Project Possible / Nims Purja, Stefan Auth/imageBROKER/Shutterstock

We caught up with Purja during a break from one of his climbs to talk about his essential gear, favorite places to climb, and more.

On his favorite/essential gear for climbing: “You definitely need a really decent bomb-proof summit suit, because that’s what you wear in these extreme conditions and at extreme altitude. So having a Thrudark summit suit has been absolutely fantastic. I do also have very reliable kit from Black Diamond. Of course, when you climb, you have to carry your gear and so having a really light-but-strong backpack from Osprey has always been helpful for me.”

On his favorite places that he’s climbed—and where he’d like to go in the future: “Some memorable ones would include Annapurna, not only because it is one of the most dangerous mountains to climb, ranked as No. 1 with one-in-four people dying over there, but also because we opened the route that hasn’t been climbed since 1970. Annapurna also saw us conducting the rescue of Mr. Chin, of course, that will always be remembered. Kanchenjunga was just as memorable, where we completely came off the oxygen at 8,450m to rescue these two climbers who were left behind. I’ll never forget that because it was the hardest thing I have ever done. From the second phase, it would have to be K2 purely because of the nature of how it was this season. I also think there are a lot of mountains in Pakistan to be explored, so I look forward to going over there and doing some unclimbed peaks in the near future.”

On his favorite food to eat/prepare while climbing: “My favorite food is dahl bhat, the only Nepalese food you can eat on all the expeditions. Everyone from the mountaineering community would know this!”

On his favorite drink: “A G&T. It’s always good to have fun when you work really hard and just have that moment where you enjoy the world, reward hard work, and success.”

On the best advice he’s received—and advice for other climbers: “Well, the best advice I can ever give to anyone, not only in terms of mountaineering but in general life, is not to listen to anyone. Listen to your heart, believe in yourself and always give 100 percent. Stay disciplined and one can only give 100 percent of what you can do, so by following that principle you’ll have a chance to be successful.

As for other climbers, my biggest advice is that you always have to know your body. You need to discover your personal limits and everyone reacts differently at certain altitudes, but as long as you have a good understanding of yourself, then you should be fine. In terms of gear, I can only advise what I wear so I would recommend Thrudark and Black Diamond gear which has always been very reliable for me.”

Check out the full MJ5 archives for more interviews with Michael Strahan, Tony Hawk, Chris Evans, John Legend, and more.

For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!