Nimsdai’s First Summit of Kilimanjaro

Reading time: 12 min.

Nimsdai, aka Nims, or formally, Nirmal Purja is a mountaineer native of Nepal, holder of several world records. After going through a tough school in the Gurkha Special Forces and the British Royal Navy Special Forces, he left the service to conquer mountain peaks. His most famous achievement is that in 2019 he ascended all 14 eight-thousanders in a record time of 6 months and 6 days (the previous record time was more than 7 years). is an actual legend among the summiteers, leave alone the professional mountaineers. Once he has set several records and accomplished the impossible (the ascent on top of 14 eight-thousanders seemed impossible before he took to it), Nimsdai decided to go to Africa for a short break before reaching the mark of 5,895 meters (19.308 ft). No, it’s not a typo: that which the others see as an excruciating effort and overcoming, Nims takes for a day’s rest. Altezza Travel were his companions on his way to the summit.  

Nimsdai at Stella Point, a paraglider starting site. August 25, 2022, photo by Altezza Travel
Nimsdai at Stella Point, a paraglider starting site. August 25, 2022, photo by Altezza Travel

Nimsdai and Kilimanjaro: The Beginning  

This guy likes to challenge himself. Following in his brothers' footsteps and joining a Gurkha unit, just to prove you're not the weakest one in the family? Sure. Becoming the first Gurkha in history to be accepted into an elite British Special Forces unit to traverse miles beneath the surface of an icy ocean? Why not? Turning yourself into a real-life Jason Bourne to participate in secret operations... At this point, Nims interrupts the story about himself, explaining that the British Ministry of Defense rules prohibit the disclosure of service details.

Should one chuck everything out and chase the dream when there is not much time left before the end of service and a following secure life in military retirement? Let's do that! Getting into adventures of mountain climbing to test the maximum capabilities of the human body? Just what one needs! Climbing the highest peaks of the planet, breaking your own Guinness Records while others are twisting their fingers at their temples? It seems that Nims is only spurred on by the impossibility of his plans and the doubts of those around him. Becoming the first man to climb K2 in winter conditions? In short, you have already got an idea of what manner of person this Nomsdai is.

And here comes the turn of Africa’s tallest mountain. Generally, Kilimanjaro climbing tours take from 6 to 8 days. Still, if Nimsdai Purja sets to it, and the matter is of mere 5,895 meters (19.308 ft), why should one not ascent to the top in only several hours, not wasting these for acclimatization, rest, sleep, and other trifles at that? Besides, once at the summit, you may well not descend by walking but fly down on a paraglider: paragliding on Kilimanjaro is gaining popularity, and is moreover one of the famous mountaineer’s hobbies.   Now, the task seems to sound sufficiently complicated and exciting. One thing left is to find a tour operator ready to organize your travel to the “rooftop of Africa”.   

Altezza Travel camp set up for Nimsdai
Altezza Travel camp set up for Nimsdai

Which company is considered here to be the largest in terms of turnover and the best in terms of customer feedback? It is Altezza Travel, which has been organizing climbs on the African volcano for 10 years. Moreover, proven acquaintances have given Nimsdai a good recommendation regarding Altezza Travel. Thus it was decided: Nims would go to Uhuru Peak accompanied by the best guides carrying recognizable tents in yellow and black.

How Nims’ Expedition to the Kilimanjaro Summit Went

On August 25, 2022, Nimsdai entered the Kilimanjaro National Park through the Mweka gate at the altitude of 1,640 m (5,380 ft), accompanied by three Altezza Travel guides: Baraka, Elia, and Stanley. It was decided to walk without too much luggage and at a quick pace but without exertion. The group set off at 3:00 p.m.   

Several hours before that, an escort group of guides and porters approached the Kosovo camp to set up the tents where Nimsdai would rest before storming the summit. The porters were also tasked with transporting food and paragliding gear. Nims acquired a passion for paragliding and intended to fly spectacularly off the volcano if the weather were right. We prepared a landing site near the town of Moshi for him. But actually the weather forecast was bad, which called paragliding in question.

At 10:30 p.m. Nims and the Altezza Travel guides reached the Kosovo camp at 4,800 m (15,784 ft). There were a warm dinner ready and comfortable tents to have rest in; Stella Point, the paraglide launch spot, and Uhuru Peak lay close ahead as Nimsdai’s ascend was rapid. There was some time to spare before dawn which the mountaineer spent talking to our guides and porters. Interestingly, although Nims initially refused excessive luxury during the expedition, he gave his due to cozy tents and tasty food provided by Altezza Travel.

Altezza Travel pours heedfully a drink of juice for Nims
Altezza Travel pours heedfully a drink of juice for Nims

After that, Nimsdai confessed that he was impressed by the Tanzanians, their openness,  inherent warmth, eagerness to smile, and uncomplicated perception of life. And, of course, their endurance: not only did our guys keep up, but they also did their job perfectly, assisting the mountaineering star in his ascent of Kilimanjaro in a few hours. With their professionalism and ease of character, Altezza Travel guides earned an invitation from Nimsday to go on an expedition to the Himalayas with him. A mountain guide has to develop and learn of different mountains and various conditions in high-altitude expeditions; this is the opinion of Nirmal Purja, a professional mountaineer.

Late at night, Nimsdai moved on the last leg of his route: ascension to Stella Point and then summit. Exceptional physique allowed Nims to arrive on site ahead of estimated time. He spent his spare time for a short excursion to Kilimanjaro glaciers and an exploration of the area in order to find the most appropriate place for running up and jumping off with the paragliding gear. The cloud coverage was above 80% and promised nothing as of successful outcome for his plans to glide off the mountain.

Strong cloud coverage on August 25, 2022, prevented Nimsdai from paragliding off the Kilimanjaro summit
Strong cloud coverage on August 25, 2022, prevented Nimsdai from paragliding off the Kilimanjaro summit

At dawn, Nimsdai reached Uhuru Peak, and whereas there have already been other climbing groups, he decided not to take a long photoshoot session near the famous sign on the main Kilimanjaro summit. Instead, Nims put on sunglasses modestly and pulled up his neck warmer to cover his face and avoid unnecessary clamour. The time has come to get down to Stella Point (5,756 m (18,884 ft)) - and decide on the further way of descent.  

The weather left no choice; the cloud coverage was high. It was raining in Moshi at the time. It was not safe to fly. Nimsday always says that extreme sport requires calculating risks to survive, and one has to be honest with oneself. This time it was decided not to do the paragliding but to go down on foot. The paragliding flight should be postponed until next time. Besides, the summit conqueror enjoyed Africa so much that he decided definitely to return - and moreover, arrange his own new project on Kilimanjaro.

In another four hours, Nirmal Purja reached the exit from Kilimanjaro National Park at the Mweka gate, the same point from which this sky run began less than a day ago. There he was met by the managers and directors of Altezza Travel and some champagne, the representatives of Kilimanjaro National Park authorities who awarded him a certificate and a commemorative medal, as well as numerous admirers who found out about the mountaineering star and craved to take a photo with the hero who inspired so many people to go to the mountains.   

The legendary Nimsdai climbs Kilimanjaro with Altezza Travel

What’s Next?

We are pleased that Nirmal Purja chose Altezza Travel for his first expedition to Kilimanjaro. We are grateful to the Tanzanian National Park Authorities for the prompt issue of permits and their willingness to cooperate even in the most difficult projects. Our thanks goes to KINAPA represented by Angela Nyaki, chief park warden of the Kilimanjaro National Park, and Charles Ngendo, her assistant, and to TANAPA represented by William Mwakilema, the Conservatoin Commissioner, and Beatrice Kessy, Business Development Manager.

We liked how the expedition went, even though the paragliding part had to be cancelled. It was a pleasure to deal with all the operational details to run this project, and we also enjoyed communicating with Nimsdai, an open and cheerful man who easily achieves challenging goals.

Nimsdai on Kilimanjaro. August 25, 2022. Expeditionrun by Altezza Travel
Nimsdai on Kilimanjaro. August 25, 2022. Expeditionrun by Altezza Travel

Moreover, we agreed on further cooperation: Elite Exped company, run by Nimsdai and his partners, will add climbing Kilimanjaro to its unique Nepalese expeditions. Altezza Travel will be the host. We have vast experience in running mountain climbs in Tanzania, which we are happy to implement in partnership with Nims. We are confident that the project will be first-class and many people will climb Kilimanjaro with us, having thus had an amazing experience. After all, as Nimsdai pointed out, Kilimanjaro experience is “next level”. We can but agree with the man who has tried so many mountains. Nims, thank you for this experience. We look forward to seeing you again!

Revised on 13 January 2023
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