‘14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible’ review: An extraordinary story of human endurance

The Netflix documentary traces how Nepali mountaineer Nirmal Purja embarks on a seemingly-impossible quest to summit all 14 of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks in seven months

The 101-minute long documentary 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible, directed by Torquil Jones, opens with mountaineer Nirmal Purja asking us to not be afraid to dream big as he walks in a sea of snow.

The project is an attempt at documenting his enthralling mission of scaling 14 peaks, that are all over 8,000 metres, in just seven months. To put this into perspective, the viewers are informed that the world record for this feat was seven years.

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The documentary tries to acquaint the viewer with the spirit of the 38-year-old from Nepal, who is determined to break that world record.

Nirmal, who is fondly called ‘Nims,’ has an infectious optimism that keeps the viewer hooked to his mission and his story. He believes that his mission ‘Project Possible’ has the potential to inspire the human race.

Though mountaineering is the star of the show, 14 Peaks also attempts to take the viewer along the rough terrain of having to navigate sponsorship deals, personal relationships, philosophical questions on morality and absurdity, to even facing the Chinese bureaucracy!

The documentary is a story of human endurance, patience and determination. Watching Nims train for the mission shatters the boundaries of physical strength we have drawn in our heads. But what makes this story extraordinary is his kindness; from going back to climb the Annapurna for a second time to rescue a stranger, to waiting on Mount Kanchenjunga in freezing temperatures and dangerous weather for help with yet another stranger. At a K2 base camp, Nims even motivates a group of mountaineers, who failed to summit the mountain, to try again and paves a path for them to follow.

Nims also constantly emphasises that this project is bigger than him and his team. He underscores the contribution of the Nepali mountaineering community to the world, and acknowledges that people from the west who seek the help of Nepalis during their expeditions don’t show enough gratitude to the community. His partners in the project, five other Nepali men, shower praise on his leadership and note that this would have been an impossible task without a leader like him. True to their words, watching Nims smile in the face of adversity makes one want to come back to this documentary.

The film is also peppered with several interesting anecdotes as well; for instance, in the midst of climbing the 14 peaks, Nims managed to get his photograph of the Mount Everest on the front page of The New York Times!

While bidding goodbye, he promises to be back with a bigger challenge. If 14 Peaks is any evidence, we sure won’t be betting against his body — or his mind.

14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible is currently streaming on Netflix


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