Do I have a déjà vu? Norwegian Kristin Harila stood on the 8,485-meter-high summit of Makalu today with Sherpas Dawa Ongju and Pasdawa of Nepalese operator 8K Expeditions – with bottled oxygen. According to Lakpa Sherpa, head of the company, it was Kristin’s sixth eight-thousander in 29 days: after Annapurna (28 April), Dhaulagiri (8 May), Kangchenjunga (14 May), Mount Everest and Lhotse (both on 22 May). This was two days faster than Nepalese Nirmal “Nims” Purja in 2019.
Former cross-country skier
And that brings us to the analogies. Like Nims back in his record year, Kristin is also 36 years old. Like Purja, Harila was a largely unknown quantity on the high-altitude mountaineering scene before her project. She was once part of the Norwegian cross-country skiing squad, with limited success. In 2021, she first attracted attention when she stood on the summits of Everest and Lhotse within twelve hours, with bottled oxygen and Sherpa support. This year, by the way, she needed only eight hours and 35 minutes for this eight-thousander double, according to her own figures.
Same goal, same style, same sponsor
Kristin wants to climb all 14 eight-thousanders this year – in six months, as Nims did in 2019. She is en route in the same style: with strong Sherpas, bottled oxygen and helicopters to cover the distances between base camps as quickly as possible. And she has the same sponsor as Purja three years ago: a British manufacturer of luxury watches. Do you understand now why it seems like déjà vu to me?