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The Possibility of the Impossible

The Netflix documentary 14 Peaks explores courageous mountaineer Nirmal Purja’s journey as he climbs the 14 highest peaks in the world in a span of seven months. The previous record for the amount of time taken to climb all of these mountains was seven years, so Purja and his team’s accomplishment is quite astounding. 

The Nepalese climber named this adventure “Project Possible.” Purja’s team, composed of Nepali sherpas, was vital in supporting him throughout his climb. 

According to The Los Angeles Times, Nirmal was “a former Nepali Gurkha soldier and member of the U.K. Special Forces. He’s a charming, exuberant leader out not only to achieve an incredible physical — at times even metaphysical — feat but also to help bring Nepal and his nation’s uber-climbers into the international spotlight.” Purja’s background clearly gave him the necessary skills to prepare for “Project Possible.” 

Indeed, the many factors that a mountaineer must take into account are daunting, especially those concerning the “Death Zone.” As Salon explains, this “is the elevation above 8,000 meters, where cold, wind, and avalanches can kill, and oxygen is scarce.” The documentary’s astounding visuals give the viewer a deep sense of such challenges that come with being a mountaineer, as well as the beauty of it.

Purja’s journey certainly had many setbacks, including his struggle with High Altitude Cerebral Edema, which was life-threatening. Purja described this experience to Yahoo News, explaining that “I needed to get down the mountain quickly…It was a matter of life and death.” 

Nirmal attributed his success in overcoming this frightening obstacle to his ambition, which is one of the qualities that stands out the most about him to his family. His wife, for instance, describes him as “very driven.” While Purja’s achievement is incredible, he remains humble about it. He described the project to Yahoo Canada as a “story that needs to be told to the rest of the world,” expressing that “It’s not about me, but [rather about] somebody else who believed in the vision to change the world for a better perspective, better reason.” Purja’s desire to share his experience and motivate others to achieve whatever they put their mind to is certainly inspirational. Indeed,  although Purja’s journey certainly was tough, his resilience awes the rest of the world.

Grace is a Sophomore at Providence College, studying Finance. She has always enjoyed writing in her free time and reading books especially mystery and romance novels. Also in her free time she loves spending time with friends, staying active, and going on adventures.
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