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14 Peaks Documentary - Netflix

 Poster: A snowHead
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New documentary coming out about a Sherpa trying to climb all of the 14 peaks above 8000m in a record time. The current record was 7 years, he tried to accomplish the feat in 7 months! Looks fantastic viewing and well worth a watch when it is released at the end of the month on Netflix
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Looking forward to watching it, should be interesting. Although my feelings about the record are a bit mixed, and I'm not surprised it's divided the mountaineering community. Obviously, there is a huge physical and psychological effort involved which I don't want to downplay. However, it almost seems more of a project in logistics and how much money you can throw at it (just the permits and helicopters alone would cost a small fortune). Also huge amounts of luck involved regarding the weather.

It's an impressive record, but there's things I'd rather see Nims do with his obvious talent - new/more interesting routes, no o2 summits, more winter summits etc. His winter K2 summit (although even that was in questionable style to some) is a better feat.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
All these “record attempt” strikes me as very artificial.

Is it not enough these guys have talent and climbs lots of peaks in increasingly difficult season/routes? I’m always impressed by those achievements.

Why should I be impressed by one of them doing a whole bunch in a short time, when the determining factors are luck and loads of money?
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Weird arguments. 8000m peaks always require good logistics, cash and good luck with the conditions. If someone does it that fast in better style I’ll be the first to congratulate them
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Arno wrote:
Weird arguments. 8000m peaks always require good logistics, cash and good luck with the conditions. If someone does it that fast in better style I’ll be the first to congratulate them


Yes an 8000m peak requires all that. Then multiply it by 14 and extreme time restrictions for this current record. Like ABC says you get to a point where luck and money arguably is a bigger factor to success than physical ability. It's unlikely anybody even has the money and backing to attempt to break the record and is there much point attempting something that has such a high chance of being derailed by weather completely out of your control.

His climbs were in the worst style - supplemental o2, huge support team, easiest route following fixed ropes (probably fixed in advance by other teams).

It's an amazing feat. It certainly requires a massive amount of skill and physical performance, but I can see why it's received criticism too.
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Quote:

His climbs were in the worst style - supplemental o2, huge support team, easiest route following fixed ropes (probably fixed in advance by other teams).

Not really the impression I got from his book certainly in term of rope placement. There are not many people on the planet who could come near to this, even with all the money in the world.
He comes across as very cocky but you need to be self confident to climb big mountains and he obviously has a heart for his country and people.
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scottishandy wrote:
Quote:

His climbs were in the worst style - supplemental o2, huge support team, easiest route following fixed ropes (probably fixed in advance by other teams).

Not really the impression I got from his book certainly in term of rope placement. There are not many people on the planet who could come near to this, even with all the money in the world.
He comes across as very cocky but you need to be self confident to climb big mountains and he obviously has a heart for his country and people.


He summited Kanchenjunga 24 hours after arriving at base camp and did Lhotse, Everest, and Makalu within 5 days. All during the peak climbing season when there would be many teams installing fixed ropes for clients. It seems impossible based on time frame alone that they installed their own ropes.

I think you are right that there are only a few people that could do it. That's the issue with this record though, that we will never really know as who is really going to put together the funding and support to attempt a record that is hugely out your control based on weather alone.

I'm not trying to knock him, he's obviously hugely talented, and the project is amazing. I do think he could use his potential to do much more impressive feats from a purely mountaineering point of view (new routes, no o2, out of season climbs etc.). However they are likely to be much less marketable to the general public.
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Who Dares Wins and all that
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Dravot wrote:
Who Dares Wins and all that

correction, by Strength and Guile!
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good luck to him
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@boarder2020, you know how he funded the project right?
and that on some of his climbs his team actually put the fixed ropes in?
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Arno wrote:
Weird arguments. 8000m peaks always require good logistics, cash and good luck with the conditions. If someone does it that fast in better style I’ll be the first to congratulate them
Old timers like me tend to be more impressed with putting up new routes than thrashing up crowded trade routes against some artificial clock.
Doing it all in roller skates and boxing gloves[1] would be more impressive and no less interesting to me.

Arno wrote:
on some of his climbs his team actually put the fixed ropes in
That's not really the point.

--
[1] Yes, I do know there's some history of such things in climbing.
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@philwig, the bit about ropes was responding to boarder2020 saying he’d basically just pulled himself up the mountains on established routes

I’m with you on the new routes thing to some extent but I don’t really get why people want this to be something it’s not. It’s obviously a great achievement of endurance, logistics, self belief and luck. I don’t think anyone has claimed it’s the greatest achievement of technical mountaineering
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Arno wrote:
@philwig, the bit about ropes was responding to boarder2020 saying he’d basically just pulled himself up the mountains on established routes

I’m with you on the new routes thing to some extent but I don’t really get why people want this to be something it’s not. It’s obviously a great achievement of endurance, logistics, self belief and luck. I don’t think anyone has claimed it’s the greatest achievement of technical mountaineering


Nobody is saying it's not a fantastic achievement and an insane project. Simply that from purely a mountaineering point of view it's perhaps not so interesting and that for someone so obviously talented we'd rather see him push the boundaries in other ways.

Perhaps his team did fix a few ropes here and there, but it's clear from the timeframes involved they didn't fix the routes completely. Why would you though? You are climbing mostly during peak seasons where there are many teams putting up an established route. For a speed record it makes no sense to waste time and energy fixing your own route, simply follow the quickest and easiest one. (To be fair they did help out with some rescues which over the last year we've seen many climbers disregard in favour of their own summit chances).

Let's for argument's sake say his team did fix all the ropes for him. If that was a western climber employing a large group of Sherpas to fix routes for him to just follow up they would receive a ton of criticism that the Sherpas did all the heavy lifting while they took all the credit.

It reminds me of the k2 winter summit. Of course I was pleased to see it finally conquered, and I was happy for Nepal to have a first winter ascent, as they've contributed so much to mountaineerin history without anywhere near enough recognition. On the other hand I was disappointed to see the stylenit was done, it would have been nice for the likes of urubko climbing more alpine style in small teams to have done it.

It's not that one invalidates the other being a fantastic achievement though.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
It’s a speed record and (as far as I can work out) he’s been pretty open about the style, use of O2 etc so I don’t have a problem with it. Similar with K2 - no-one had made it up in winter before. Maybe people will do it in “better” style in future. It seems a pretty impressive achievement to me as it stands
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Quote:

...than thrashing up crowded trade routes against some artificial clock.

I only have objection to THAT. It's "artificial". That's lame.

If he wants to establish the fastest time up a specific mountain, from base camp to peak, maybe it's easier for us non-climbers to grasp. But 14 mountains in 7 months? Just because those 14 were "highest" in the world isn't enough. Sure, they're hard. But there're still so many unclimbed peaks, "bagging" the same group of peaks over and over just sounds... boring.

BTW, this reminds me of "80 days around the world" Toofy Grin
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To all/any of his critics. There was nothing stopping you doing this first.
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Arno wrote:
It’s a speed record and (as far as I can work out) he’s been pretty open about the style, use of O2 etc so I don’t have a problem with it. Similar with K2 - no-one had made it up in winter before. Maybe people will do it in “better” style in future. It seems a pretty impressive achievement to me as it stands


I don't think anyone is saying it's not an impressive achievement. But whenever there is a new kind of record in any sport it's human nature (and quite an interesting discussion) to compare how it stacks up to other things. I actually don't think we will ever see it beaten. Firstly you have to pretty lucky with the weather and logistics all working out to even be in a position to summit, secondly I suspect the top climbers ambitions lie elsewhere and they would not "waste" a season attempting it.

Quote:

To all/any of his critics. There was nothing stopping you doing this first.


I'm sure plenty of us would be happy to give it a go! Unfortunately we probably don't have the biology, experience, contacts, access to funding etc. I dont think anyone is being uneccessarily critical of him, it's more a case of discussing the record itself. Even the most critical comments I've read from people that may well have been able to do it first acknowledge it's a tremendous achievement by a great athlete:

‘What he has done is quite extraordinary, but it isn’t mountaineering. Real mountaineering is exploratory — finding new routes up to big peaks … I don’t see this as a major event.’ - Chris bonnington

‘It isn’t exactly alpinism as I understand it. He is of course supremely fit and determined but I find it hard to get enthused by what he’s done. I think for most climbers, speed records aren’t that interesting. What excites most climbers is the creativity and artistry of taking on a steep or unknown route.’ - Stephen Venables (first Brit to summit Everest without o2).

Will be interesting to see if he reached the "summit" or "true summit" of manaslu snowHead (quite a bit of controversy at the minute about the "summit" most climbers are using - fwiw it's a non issue to me).
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Dravot wrote:
To all/any of his critics. There was nothing stopping you doing this first.

But the discussion is whether there's a point to even do it at all. We're debating whether there's a point in being "first" on something rather pointless
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@boarder2020,

I don't think you are right to suggest that Nirmal Purja could have achieved something more notable by, e.g., climbing new routes in an alpine style. He is - and I know this is bizarre - not that experienced a technical climber. Perhaps he will come one in a decade's time if that is what he wants to be but for now I think he lacks the climbing skills and experience to push standards on hard technical routes. He is however an outrageously talented high altitude endurance athlete. When he realised he had amazing gifts in that area (plus obviously loads of drive and determination) he just took that to the extreme natural conclusion. What he achieved is amazing but it is also the exact thing he is most suited for.
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jedster wrote:
@boarder2020,

I don't think you are right to suggest that Nirmal Purja could have achieved something more notable by, e.g., climbing new routes in an alpine style. He is - and I know this is bizarre - not that experienced a technical climber. Perhaps he will come one in a decade's time if that is what he wants to be but for now I think he lacks the climbing skills and experience to push standards on hard technical routes. He is however an outrageously talented high altitude endurance athlete. When he realised he had amazing gifts in that area (plus obviously loads of drive and determination) he just took that to the extreme natural conclusion. What he achieved is amazing but it is also the exact thing he is most suited for.


I think you are underestimating his abilities somewhat and perhaps overestimating the technical difficulties of high altitude mountaineering. K2 is arguably as technically difficult as any "main route" and he chose to do that no o2 in winter so that alone suggests many other possibilities for a "record" - e.g. Everest - Lhotse winter traverse has been discussed for some time.

I think part of his choice of record comes down to marketing, what he did is clearly much more interesting to the general public. How many Netflix documentaries are there about the top high altitude mountain climbers? He's already spun it of into some guiding work for very rich clients. I'm not criticising him for this, it's a smart business decision and as he points out with the whole ama dablam Kuwait flag thing this guiding will provide employment opportunities for a bunch of local Sherpa.

I'm not sure how willing he is to team up with western climbers. He clearly is quite patriotic and likes being able to claim these firsts for Nepal. It would be great to see him join with the likes of Moro, Bielecki, and Urubko (if he hasn't completely retired) and go after some interesting projects together.
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Was lucky enough to meet Nims last Friday at the European premiere at Kendal Mountain Festival. Incredible film and achievement, great human being. Was supposed to be doing a book signing for 45 min after the event, he was still there well over 3 hours later, sitting down with everyone individually for a quick chat.
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Quote:

I think you are underestimating his abilities somewhat and perhaps overestimating the technical difficulties of high altitude mountaineering. K2 is arguably as technically difficult as any "main route" and he chose to do that no o2 in winter so that alone suggests many other possibilities for a "record" - e.g. Everest - Lhotse winter traverse has been discussed for some time.

Ah I thought you were referring to the hard faces and unclimbed lines.
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jedster wrote:
Quote:

I think you are underestimating his abilities somewhat and perhaps overestimating the technical difficulties of high altitude mountaineering. K2 is arguably as technically difficult as any "main route" and he chose to do that no o2 in winter so that alone suggests many other possibilities for a "record" - e.g. Everest - Lhotse winter traverse has been discussed for some time.

Ah I thought you were referring to the hard faces and unclimbed lines.


Not necessarily. There are plenty of crazy possibilities that are more on the physiology/psychology end of things than technical skill (of course some technical ability is required, but we are not talking extreme rock climbing grades or something. For example Everest Lhotse traverse, solo Kanchenjunga traverse, gasherbrum winter double header etc.
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I'm presuming you've all seen Andrzej Bargiel' descent of K2 on skis.... it's been out for a year, but def ticked the 'pushing the boundaries' box!
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boarder2020 wrote:
jedster wrote:
Quote:

I think you are underestimating his abilities somewhat and perhaps overestimating the technical difficulties of high altitude mountaineering. K2 is arguably as technically difficult as any "main route" and he chose to do that no o2 in winter so that alone suggests many other possibilities for a "record" - e.g. Everest - Lhotse winter traverse has been discussed for some time.

Ah I thought you were referring to the hard faces and unclimbed lines.


Not necessarily. There are plenty of crazy possibilities that are more on the physiology/psychology end of things than technical skill (of course some technical ability is required, but we are not talking extreme rock climbing grades or something. For example Everest Lhotse traverse, solo Kanchenjunga traverse, gasherbrum winter double header etc.

Those "crazy possibilities" may sound exciting for climbers. But may not appeal to the non-climbing public which he need to solicit sponsorship?

14 peaks in 7 months is much easier to understand. (contribute to my feeling it not being a "climbing" achievement, rather a cheap publicity stunt, albeit showcasing his climbing ability to the armchair adventurers).
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
https://www.ft.com/content/0664aee1-44e1-492f-ab2c-57a47acb3534?accessToken=zwAAAX1e5ZkIkc8GZK7hROFJL9OrLFekess1NA.MEUCIQDunjMGH392tYpf02RwpyE4OdRDi_I5-e8sq8oRYMXx0wIgeSWpZwMCHcyj7CSLc7uf-SJGEdsCox5msy7maR3YtJU&sharetype=gift?token=9b39043f-d062-4cb0-99c2-bdbf66d46974

Hope this link works. Should be to FT lunch with Nirmal…. Enjoy.
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abc wrote:
boarder2020 wrote:
jedster wrote:
Quote:

I think you are underestimating his abilities somewhat and perhaps overestimating the technical difficulties of high altitude mountaineering. K2 is arguably as technically difficult as any "main route" and he chose to do that no o2 in winter so that alone suggests many other possibilities for a "record" - e.g. Everest - Lhotse winter traverse has been discussed for some time.

Ah I thought you were referring to the hard faces and unclimbed lines.


Not necessarily. There are plenty of crazy possibilities that are more on the physiology/psychology end of things than technical skill (of course some technical ability is required, but we are not talking extreme rock climbing grades or something. For example Everest Lhotse traverse, solo Kanchenjunga traverse, gasherbrum winter double header etc.

Those "crazy possibilities" may sound exciting for climbers. But may not appeal to the non-climbing public which he need to solicit sponsorship?

14 peaks in 7 months is much easier to understand. (contribute to my feeling it not being a "climbing" achievement, rather a cheap publicity stunt, albeit showcasing his climbing ability to the armchair adventurers).


I kind of said the same above:

Quote:

I think part of his choice of record comes down to marketing, what he did is clearly much more interesting to the general public. How many Netflix documentaries are there about the top high altitude mountain climbers? He's already spun it of into some guiding work for very rich clients. I'm not criticising him for this, it's a smart business decision and as he points out with the whole ama dablam Kuwait flag thing this guiding will provide employment opportunities for a bunch of local Sherpa.


I don't buy the sponsorship thing though. It could have cost a tiny fraction of what this record cost to do any of the other things I suggested. The likes of North Face and red bull would have been happy to throw money at it. Simone Moro and Tamara lunger got enough sponsors to fund an attempt at gasherbrum winter double header previously (abandoned attempt due to crevasse fall). So I think it's possible, it's not necessarily that expensive if done with a small team alpine style. Look at Tomasz Mackiewicz as an example of someone with basically no funding.
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You know it makes sense.
Don't forget his other achievements:
Gurkha
S.B.S
Multiple tours to Iraq and Afghan, was very "hands on" (something he totally avoids writing about in his book)
He was asked to join the S.A.S. which would have made him the first person ever to have served in both.

I have a close friend who is contemporaneously ex SAS who told me about Nims, he described him as "an absolute machine" when in theatre
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