To celebrate the feat, but also to introduce him to the Italian mountaineering community, on 26th and 27th August Nirmal was in Cortina, for an event organised by SCARPA.
On the first evening, the mountaineer met journalists and the SCARPA team, as well as the local authorities (among them the mayor of Cortina, Gianpietro Ghedina), at a refined dinner where he recounted the exploits of a life spent in the death zone, collected in the book "Beyond the Possible" among chilling climbs, rescues, sleepless nights, oxygen tank thieves, extreme gestures of courage and a constant theme. "If you really want to reach a goal, you can do it. But you have to be prepared to shed tears, sweat and blood. Success never happens by chance. This is his philosophy.
The next day, the SCARPA team, accompanied by the alpine guides, reached the Lagazuoi refuge on an equipped path, the Kaiserjager: epic places, where during the First World War people fought between one rock and another, land that swallowed up thousands of soldiers. From the summit, Nirmal gazed serenely at the Dolomite peaks, studied the winds. And while the others were having lunch at the refuge, he pulled an alpine paraglider out of his rucksack and flew down: returning by cable car was too easy for him.
In the evening, at 18.15, the public happening was scheduled. In a packed Angelo Dibona Square, the SCARPA athlete told his story by showing videos and photographs of his exploits. During the talk, the salient moments of his career were retraced, which began in 2012 and which saw him climb all fourteen 8,000 metre mountains in the record time of 189 days, as part of the "Project Possible 14x7", right up to the winter K2, showing the wonderful images of his group's arrival at the summit. "Everyone was expecting, the last steps with the Nepalese anthem in the background were wonderful," he said. And the choice to hold this special event in Cortina is no coincidence: the town in the Veneto region was the birthplace in 1925 of Lino Lacedelli, one of the greatest mountaineers of all time, who together with Achille Compagnoni was the first man to conquer K2 in 1954.
"My challenges are aimed at something bigger than myself," said Nirmal. "I fight for my people, to put the Sherpa community back at the centre of world attention: we are great mountaineers, not just porters. But I also fight for the protection of the mountains. My next goal is to start a campaign to bring the waste from the eight-thousanders down to the valley. It is a way of highlighting the problems associated with climate change."
The Asolo-based company, which has included Nirmal in its team of mountaineers, has thus confirmed its love for the mountains and the mantra "No place too far" has taken shape on its face. "Great mountaineering expeditions are part of our history", said SCARPA president Sandro Parisotto and CEO Diego Bolzonello, both present in Cortina. "Passion, love for the mountains and teamwork are the values that our company has always upheld, sharing them with the most important climbers. To have contributed to the epic feat of Nirmal Purja and his team is a source of immense satisfaction".
Photo credits: Roberto De Pellegrin