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Gurkha soldier makes Mt Everest double ascent, reaches 3 peaks above 8,000 m in 5 days

June 05, 2017

KATHMANDU: With the year’s spring climbing season coming to an end, a Gurkha soldier has scripted a history by successfully standing atop the world’s highest peak twice as well as making it to the top of two other mountains above 8,000 m within five days.

According to the expedition organisers and officials, Nirmal Purja, a permanent resident of Myagdi district, scaled Mt Everest twice and also climbed Mt Lhotse and Mt Makalu.

Khadananda Adhikari, a liaison officer from the Department of Tourism under the Ministry of Culture Tourism and Civil Aviation, said that Purja scaled Mt Everest on May 15 and May 27.

The 34-year-old climber also scaled Mt Lhotse (8,516 m) at around 3:30 pm on May 27 within less than eight hours of his second ascent to Mt Everest, Adhikari quoted the Gurkha soldier as saying.

After making a successful summit to the world’s fourth highest peak, Purja along with four Sherpa support staff left for Mt Makalu (8,485 m) on May 30 from Mt Everest base camp. “Purja and three Sherpa climbers successfully stood atop the world’s fifth highest mountain at 9:20 am on June 1,” Nivesh Karki, Manager at Seven Summit Treks, shared.

Nirmal Purja. Photo: Nirmal Purja Facebook

The serving sergeant of the Gurkha Engineer in British Army was one of the three expedition members who reached the top of Mt Everest at 2:21 pm on May 15 by opening a summit route to the roof of the world. Purja then scaled Mt Everest, Mt Lhotse and Mt Makalu in five days (May 27 to June 1).

“DoT has already asked the expedition organisers and the climber to submit all details to issue the summit certificates,” Adhikari said. If proven officially true, Purja would be the first person ever to achieve the feat reaching the top of three peaks above 8,000 m including Mt Everest in five days, he added.

Shivraj Thapa, Managing Director at Summit Nepal Trek said that his company managed two climbing permits for his Mt Everest double ascent. Seven Summit Treks obtained climbing permits for the British Gurkha soldier from DoT for Mt Lhotse and Mt Makalu, according to SST Managing Director Mingma Sherpa.

In 2016, Purja was also one of the rescuers who helped other climbers in need to safely descend from the Mt Everest death zone. On  May 18,  2014, Purja had scaled Mt Dhaulagiri (8,167 m), according to a record prepared by the DoT. Purja was scheduled to arrive Kathmandu from Makalu region late in the evening today, Sherpa said.

Besides placing the serving Gurkha soldiers on the summit of Mt Everest, the Gurkha Everest Expedition was organised this year to train the nucleus of instructors for the next generation of Gurkha mountaineers as well as to commemorate 200 years of loyal service to the British Crown, according to reports.