Mountain of a problem for Nirmal Purja


27 November 2019 I A Kathmandu media outlet has accused climbing superhero Nirmal Purja of taking nearly US $9,000 from “a Kuwaiti expedition” and not fulfilling what the money was paid for.

An “invoice” the media outlet has gotten hold of reportedly proves that Mr Purja’s agency, Elite Himalayan Adventures, was paid US $8,890 for obtaining “expedition filming permit” from the Nepalese government.

Mr Purja, on his part, did not seek any permission from the Nepalese government to unfurl the giant Kuwaiti flag on the sacred mountain top and then film the moment, the media report indicates.

According to MyRepublica, Mr Purja never approached the Nepalese government to obtain the permission to help the Kuwaitis take the flag to Mt Ama Dablam and unfurl on its flank, which he eventually did to much frenzied social media response.

The Nepalese mountaineer had guided the Kuwaiti expedition to Ama Dablam on November 12, two weeks after his world record for summitting all 14 mountains on the planet above 8000 metres.

On October 29, the former elite soldier of the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy made his fellow Nepalese immensely proud by achieving the record-breaking feat. He conquered the 14 mountain tops in just 190 days against the previous record-holder, South Korean climber Kim Chang-ho, who had done so in seven years, 10 months and six days.

The accomplishment was such that even Prime Minister KP Oli took to Twitter to congratulate the avid mountaineer besides it dominating media headlines across the world.

Mr Purja’s trouble began after he posted a social media video showing a giant Kuwaiti flag hugging Mt Ama Dablam.

Following a massive hue and cry, Nepal’s tourism department began an internal investigation to find out the truth behind the Kuwaiti flag.

MyRepublica’s account suggests that the biggest victim of the flag debacle turned out to be the Kuwaitis because now they did not have their national flag back from Mt Ama Dablam which they planned to showcase during their national day.

Mr Purja apparently had an agreement to return the flag after it was unfurled atop Mt Ama Dablam but the local authorities seized it following social media fever.

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