The age of content comes with certain drawbacks. Chief among them is the sheer volume of readily-available entertainment (mini-series, documentaries, podcasts, etc) versus the finite amount of hours we’re working with. Rest assured, Netflix’s 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible will be worth cancelling whatever evening plans you have this week to make time for a viewing.
Directed by Torquil Jones and produced by the same Academy Award-winning producers behind Free Solo, this newly-released doco revolves around Nirmal Purja – former Royal Nepalese Ghurka, former Special Boat Service (SBS) operator, and intrepid mountaineer. Over the course of one hour and 41 minutes, audiences follow his journey to scale the world’s 14 highest summits, each more than 8,000 metres above sea level, in a record time of just seven months. How long did it take the last (successful) attempt? Seven years.
But even more crucially, 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible follows his mission to reeducate: without their Sherpas, individuals like Sir Edmund Hillary would’ve never been able to make history. Purja states he never wants to hear another climber say, “My Sherpa helped me.” Because the Sherpas have names, and without their names, without the acknowledgement so freely offered to their Western counterparts, they become ghosts.
“If this had been done by a Western climber, the news would have been ten times bigger than this.”
“He is determined to do it to give Nepali climbers the credit they are due, and – he notes – to pay them more than they would get from Western climbers, to burnish the resumes of his team, and provide more opportunities for them,” writes Nell Minow of Roger Ebert.
“He makes a point of introducing us to each member of the team at the beginning of the film, calling them his brothers and telling us about each one’s special skill. We see his determination but also his heroic generosity of spirit, helping others who had given up to achieve the summits and stopping – at the risk of missing his deadline – to help climbers suffering from exposure or altitude sickness.”
“When you are in the mountains, when you give up, you die,” explains Nirmal Purja.
The biggest strength that I have… I have no fear.”
14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible can now be streamed on Netflix – check out the trailer above.