Netflix documentary traces how Nepalese climber Nirmal Purja embarks on a seemingly impossible quest to reach the world’s 14 8,000-meter peaks in seven months
The 101-minute long documentary 14 summits: nothing is impossible, directed by Torquil Jones, opens with mountaineer Nirmal Purja asking us not to be afraid to dream big as he walks in a sea of ââsnow.
The project is an attempt to document his exciting mission to climb 14 peaks, all over 8,000 meters, in just seven months. To put it in perspective, viewers are told that the world record for this feat was seven years.
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The documentary attempts to familiarize the viewer with the spirit of the 38-year-old Nepalese, determined to break this world record.
Nirmal, affectionately known as “Nims”, has an infectious optimism that keeps the viewer hooked on his mission and his story. He believes his âProject Possibleâ mission has the potential to inspire the human race.
Although mountaineering is the star of the show, 14 summits also attempts to take the viewer through the rugged terrain of having to navigate sponsorship deals, personal relationships, philosophical questions about morality and absurdity, even facing Chinese bureaucracy!
The documentary is a story of human endurance, patience and determination. Watching Nims train for the mission breaks the limits of physical strength we’ve drawn in our heads. But what makes this story extraordinary is its kindness; from returning to climb Annapurna for the second time to save an alien, to waiting on Mount Kanchenjunga in freezing temperatures and dangerous weather to get help with another alien. In a K2 base camp, Nims even motivates a group of climbers, who have failed to climb the mountain, to try again and opens the way for them to follow.
Nims also constantly emphasizes that this project is bigger than him and his team. He highlights the contribution of the Nepalese mountaineering community to the world and recognizes that the people of the west who seek the help of the Nepalese on their expeditions do not show enough gratitude to the community. His partners in the project, five other Nepalese men, praise his leadership and note that it would have been an impossible task without a leader like him. True to their words, seeing Nims smile in the face of adversity makes you want to come back to this documentary.
The film is also peppered with several interesting anecdotes; for example, while he was climbing the 14 summits, Nims succeeded in making his photo of Mount Everest appear on the front page of The New York Times!
While saying goodbye, he promises to be back with a greater challenge. Yes 14 summits is proof, we certainly won’t bet against his body – or his mind.
14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible is currently streaming on Netflix