Dear Chinese-Tibetan authorities, now it is up to you whether Nirmal, called “Nims” Purja can successfully complete his “Project Possible” – all 14 eight-thousanders in seven months – or not. Today he has also scaled the 8,163-meter-high Manaslu, the eighth highest mountain on earth. It was the 13th eight-thousander for the 36-year-old Nepalese since the end of April, when the former soldier of the British Gurkha Regiment opened the dance with his success on Annapurna. Now he is only missing the Shishapangma, with 8,027 meters the “lowest” eight-thousander. And that’s where you come in.
You have closed Shishapangma, which is located completely on Tibetan territory, for this fall. For safety reasons, it said. Whether you mean the safety on the mountain or more generally the safety in Tibet, remains to be seen. After all, the 70th birthday of the People’s Republic of China will be celebrated on 1 October – and not all Tibetans will feel like celebrating. But let’s leave politics aside and pretend that your refusal to issue fall permits for Shishapangma is all about mountain safety.
Nirmal Purja and his strong “Project Possible”-Team really don’t endanger it. Even under the most difficult conditions – such as on Dhaulagiri or on K2 – Nims and Co. have reached the summits of the other 13 eight-thousanders thanks to their strength and determination. They would also not do harakiri mountaineering on Shishapangma. They would take the normal route and would probably also use bottled oxygen. If you like, they will even fix ropes up to the highest point.
How about that? You let Nims go and send a Chinese expedition in his footsteps, among others with Luo Jing. Then Luo would really have completed the 14 eight-thousanders, as the first woman from China. You had already announced this in fall 2018 – until it turned out that the Chinese expedition had “only” reached the 8,008-meter-high Central Peak, but not the main summit of Shishapangma.
That way you’d kill two birds with one stone. On the one hand you could let yourselves be celebrated for your generosity by not making Nims Purja “Project Possible” impossible. On the other hand, you could use the possible success of the Chinese expedition for state propaganda. So give it a push and issue Nirmal Purja a permit for Shishapangma! Mountain sports fans all over the world who keep their fingers crossed for Nims would celebrate you for it. We also say politely please. If necessary, even twice: Please, please!