Climber ascends world's 14 tallest mountains in 189 days, smashing record

Access to the comments Comments
By Yuliya Talmazan  with NBC News World News
Image: Purja's photo showing heavy traffic at the summit of Mount Everest.
Purja's photo showing heavy traffic at the summit of Mount Everest.   -   Copyright  AFP - Getty Images file

A British-Nepalese mountaineer became the fastest climber to summit the world's 14 highest mountains on Tuesday, scaling all of them in record 189 days and breaking the previous record of nearly eight years.

Nirmal Purja, 36, climbed Mount Shishapangma at 26,335 feet in Tibet, six months and one week after he climbed his first in the pursuit, Mount Annapurna.

"Mission achieved," Purja posted on his Instagram page from the summit in Tibet, the world's 14th highest mountain, after reaching the peak at 9 a.m. local time on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET Monday).

Purja, who goes by "Nims," accomplished the feat with six sherpas by his side, all Nepalese, according to a statement put out by his publicist.

Mt Shishapangma, Tibet, China.
Mt Shishapangma, Tibet, China.Emad aljumah

The climbers are currently descending and are expected to return to Kathmandu, Nepal's capital, later this week.

After climbing Annapurna, the world's tenth highest peak, on April 23, Purja took on the other "8,000ers" — peaks that are more than 8,000 meters above sea level — by scaling Dhaulagiri, Kanchenjunga, Everest, Lhotse and Makalu the following month.

He then went to Pakistan, where he climbed Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrum I, Gasherbrum II, K2 and Broad Peak — all in the month of July.

Purja climbed another two peaks in Nepal — Cho Oyu and Manaslu in September before heading to Tibet to climb Shishapangma.

All together, it took him just 6 months and 6 days to complete the impressive endeavor, beating the world record by more than seven years.

The previous world records for climbing all 14 peaks was 7 years, 11 months and 14 days held by Poland's Jerzy Kukuczka in 1987, and South Korean Kim Chang-ho who beat Kukuczka's record in 2013 by just 1 month and 8 days.

"It has been a grueling but humbling six months, and I hope to have proven that anything is possible with some determination, self-belief and positivity," Purja said in an emailed statement distributed by his representative Tuesday morning.

"This was never just about me, which is the reason I've been able to overcome some huge obstacles on this journey. By achieving this goal, I knew I could inspire people from all generations, across the world," he added.

Purja, who lives in England and is a former member of U.K.'s special forces, joins the list of just 40 climbers to have completed the feat, his representatives said.

On his journey, Purja took a photograph showing scores of climbers on the summit ridge of Mount Everest in May. The photo went viral exposing overcrowding in the so-called death zone of the world's highest mountain.

Purja\'s photo showing heavy traffic at the summit of Mount Everest.
Purja\'s photo showing heavy traffic at the summit of Mount Everest.AFP - Getty Images file

During his six-month journey, Purja also helped with three rescues of fellow climbers along the way, his representatives said.

But he is not stopping anytime soon.

Purja plans to scale Mount Ama Dablam in the Himalayas, a relatively easier 22,349-foot climb, where he will plant a poppy for Remembrance Day commemorations on Nov. 11.