Film Review: 14 Peaks

by The Cowl Editor on December 11, 2021

Arts & Entertainment

Film Review: 14 Peaks

The Possibility of the Impossible

Grace O’Connor ’22

The Netflix documentary 14 Peaks explores courageous mountaineer Nirmal Purja’s journey as he climbs the 14 highest peaks in the world in the span of seven months. The previous record for the amount of time taken to climb all of these mountains was seven years, so Purja and his team’s accomplishment is quite astounding. The Nepalese climber named this adventure “Project Possible.” 

According to The Los Angeles Times, Nirmal was “a former Nepali Gurkha soldier and member of the U.K. Special Forces. He’s a charming, exuberant leader out not only to achieve an incredible physical — at times even metaphysical — feat but also to help bring Nepal and his nation’s uber-climbers into the international spotlight.” 

Purja’s background clearly gave him the necessary skills to prepare for “Project Possible.” Indeed, the many factors that a mountaineer must take into account are daunting, especially those concerning the “Death Zone.” As Salon explains, this “is the elevation above 8,000 meters, where cold, wind, and avalanches can kill, and oxygen is scarce.” 

Purja’s journey certainly had many setbacks, including his life-threatening struggle with High Altitude Cerebral Edema. Purja described this experience to Yahoo News, saying,  “I needed to get down the mountain quickly…It was a matter of life and death.” 

Nirmal attributed his success in overcoming this frightening obstacle to his ambition, which is one of the qualities that stands out the most about him to his family. His wife, for instance, describes him as “very driven” in multiple interviews. 

While Purja’s achievement is incredible, he remains humble. He described the project to Yahoo Canada as a “story that needs to be told to the rest of the world,” expressing that “It’s not about me, but [rather about] somebody else who believed in the vision to change the world for a better perspective, better reason.” Purja’s desire to share his experience and motivate others to achieve whatever they put their minds to is inspirational. Indeed, although Purja’s journey certainly was tough, his resilience awes the rest of the world.