We watched 14 Peaks* recently. There are 14 mountains with summits greater than 8,000 meters (“eight thousander). 14 Peaks follows Nepalese climber Nirmal “Nims” Purja and his team in their successful attempt to climb all eight thousanders in 7 months.
The previous record was 7 years.
Nims wanted this project to be a source of inspiration for all humankind – a triumph of skill, grit, and endurance. As everyone he spoke to said it was impossible, he called the initiative “Project Possible.”
He achieved all those aims. It was definitely a triumph of skill, grit, and endurance. But, it was a lot more than that. There were a couple of moments where the team went out of their way to help climbers in trouble – putting their own project and lives at risk.
There was, however, one moment that stood out to me. The setting was Mount K2 – the second tallest mountain in the world and one of the deadliest mountains in the world. The existing groups of climbers on K2’s base camp had been thwarted by the weather. They describe the mood in the camp as depressed.
Then Nims and the Project Possible team arrived. They got the team re-energized with a party that evening in the mountain. The next day, Nims laid out the plan and expressed his confidence in his team’s ability to scale the mountain. There were some inevitable naysayers. But, Nims was a picture of confidence and optimism.
The Project Possible team scaled K2 in the next 3 days. And, 20 other climbers followed in their footsteps.
Nims talked about the importance of optimism and confidence in leaders earlier. It was one of those moments which showed him walking the talk beautifully.
*Note: The film was nice – without being great. It would have benefited with more visual guides for the viewers to put these insane achievements in context. The feats in the movie were extraordinary and made it worth the watch.