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Nepalese mountaineer climbs 14 highest peaks in 189 days

AP and Reuters, October 31, 2019 7:00PM Kids News

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Nirmal Purja standing at the summit of Mount Everest on May 22, 2019. Picture: AFP/Nirmal ‘Nims’ Perja (Bremont Project Possible) media_cameraNirmal Purja standing at the summit of Mount Everest on May 22, 2019. Picture: AFP/Nirmal ‘Nims’ Perja (Bremont Project Possible)

humanities

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A Nepalese man has climbed the world’s 14 highest peaks in just 189 days.

His incredible feat* smashes the previous record by more than seven years.

Nirmal Purja scaled the 8027m Mount Shishapangma in China on Tuesday, which was the last of the 14 peaks that are more than 8000m high.

The previous record for climbing the 14 peaks was seven years, 10 months and six days. It was set by South Korean climber Kim Chang-ho in 2013.

Only 40 mountaineers have ever climbed all the 14 peaks, eight of which are in Nepal, five in Pakistan and one in Tibet.

media_cameraNirmal Purja standing at the summit of Gasherbrum II on July 18, 2019. Picture: Nirmal Purja/Bremont Project Possible/AFP

Mingma Sherpa of Seven Summit Treks in Kathmandu, Nepal, which equipped the expedition, said the 36-year-old Purja was in good health.

Climbing experts called the record a momentous* achievement in mountaineering history.

“It is a great achievement for mountaineering and mountaineers and a milestone* in the history of climbing,” said Ang Tshering, who previously headed the Nepal Mountaineering Association.

media_cameraNepalese mountaineer Nirmal Purja (second from left) and his team, parading through Kathmandu, Nepal, after returning from the final climb in China. Picture: AP/Niranjan Shrestha)

A former soldier in the British army, Purja began his mission on April 23 with a climb of Mount Annapurna in Nepal.

After Mount Annapurna on April 23, he climbed Mount Dhaulagiri on May 12, Mount Kanchenjunga on May 15, Mount Everest on May 22, Mount Lhotse just 12 hours later, also on May 22, Mount Makalu on May 24 and Mount Manaslu on September 27.

In Pakistan, he climbed Mount Nanga Parbat on July 3, Mount Gasherbrum 1 on July 15, Mount Gasherbrum 2 on July 18, Mount K2 on July 24 and Mount Broad Peak on July 26.

In China, he scaled Mount Cho You on September 23 and Mount Shishapangma on October 29.

He struggled to get permission from the Chinese government for his last climb and was allowed only after getting help from the Nepalese government.

Purja’s photo of a long line of climbers just below the Mount Everest summit was widely circulated on social media in May. It raised concerns about overcrowding and the safety of climbers spending so much time on the highest point of the Earth for hours stuck in a traffic jam.

media_cameraNirmal Purja’s famous photo of the queue to summit Mount Everest, taken on May 22, 2019. Picture: AFP/Project Possible

Purja joined the British army in 2003 but left earlier this year to begin his mission of climbing all the highest peaks in record time.

Man smashes record for scaling world's highest mountains

GLOSSARY

feat: big achievement

momentous: of great importance

milestone: an important stage, place or achievement

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QUICK QUIZ

How high is the last peak he climbed and what country is it in?

What was the previous record and who held this?

How old is Nirmal Purja and what nationality is he?

What were the dates of the first and last climbs he did?

What did Nirmal Purja do before he started his quest?

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CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Graph the peaks
What an incredible achievement!
Create a graph that shows the height of the mountains that Nirmal Purja climbed in order of when he reached their peaks. One axis should show the height of the mountains while the other axis should have details of each climb, including: the name of each mountain, which country it is in and when Mr Purja reached its peak.

Choose a scale for the height that will allow you to show the differences in the height of each mountain. (Hint – all these mountains are over 8000m so you do not have to start your height scale from zero).

Most information will be in the article, although you will need to research exactly how high each mountain is.

Time: allow 45 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Mathematics, Humanities and Social Sciences – Geography

2. Extension
Mr Purja’s effort is incredible and his achievement will definitely go down as a significant feat in human history. Write a blurb that might accompany a photo of Mr Purja detailing his achievement so future generations can read about him. Your blurb should have important information about Mr Purja’s climbs and the significance they have to mountain climbing as a sport. Include information about the previous person to hold the record for having climbed all 14 mountains. Come up with an accurate yet intriguing subtitle for this entry in ‘history books’ that might encourage people to read about him.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity 
Curriculum Links: English, Humanities and Social Sciences – History, Heath and Physical Education

VCOP ACTIVITY
Diary of a climber
Nirmal Purja must have faced some extreme conditions and felt at times like he might not make it home again. Write 3 diary entries pretending to be Nirmal about 3 close escapes he could have encountered. It can be weather, food, animal or safety related. Or maybe you can come up with something completely different.

Imagine how you would feel writing about a close escape where you feared for your life. Remember to express lots of emotion in your writing.

HAVE YOUR SAY: What would you like and not like about mountaineering?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

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