New Disney Plus documentary Finding Michael arrives on Friday (3rd March), following ex-Made in Chelsea star Spencer Matthews as he sets out to recover the body of his brother Michael, the youngest Briton to summit Everest who disappeared on the mountain in 1999.


Michael Matthews was just 22 years old when he died and with Spencer, who was 10 at the time, believing that his body is still on the mountain, he assembles a team to find his older brother in the documentary, which the former reality star said has helped him "to understand who [Michael] was more as a person".

Leading the team of sherpas up the mountain is Nims Purja – a record-breaking mountaineer and former Special Forces soldier who many will recognise from the Netflix documentary 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible – but who is the MBE?

Here's everything you need to know about Nims Purja before watching Finding Michael.

Who is Nims Purja?

Nims Purja is a Nepal-born mountaineer and former Special Forces soldier who has broken records for reaching the summits of various mountains.

Born in 1983, Purja grew up in Chitwan and in 2003, joined the Gurkhas at the age of 18, following in the footsteps of his older brothers and his father.

He became the first Gurkha to join the UK Special Boat Service in 2009 and quickly began developing a passion for mountaineering. He served 16 years in the British armed forces before resigning in 2018 to concentrate on mountaineering, according to National Geographic, telling the publication that he turned down the pension's "life-changing chunk of money" and a surprise invite to join the SAS.

In 2012, he made his first Himalayan climb and reached the Lobuche East summit, his first peak.

He went on to climb Mount Everest six times, the first time being May 2016 and most recent being May 2022, during which he broke two records.

In 2019, he began Project Possible 14/7 – hoping to set the record for climing all 14 eight-thousand metre summits in just seven months. He remortgaged his house in order to do so and managed to climb all of them: Annapurna, Dhualagiri, Kangchenjunga, Mount Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrum I, Gasherbrum II, K2, Broad Peak, Cho Oyu, Manaslu, Shishapangma, completing the challenge in 29th October 2019.

He also broke several other records, including fastest summit of the five highest mountains in the world, fastest higher 8000ers and consecutive summits of Everest, Lhotse and Makalu in 48 hours.

His efforts were documented in the Netflix film 14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible, which landed on the platform in November 2021.

Meanwhile, in June 2018, he was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his mountaineering work.

Since defeating the 14 peaks, Purja has begun his new business Nimsdai, offering mountaineers the chance to team up with him 1:1 as they take on special high-altitude projects.

What is Nims Purja's role in Finding Michael?

In Finding Michael, Spencer Matthews enlists the help of Nims Purja to recover the body of his brother Michael Matthews, who disappeared on Mount Everest after becoming the youngest Briton to summit it in 1999.

While Spencer Matthews does not travel up to the summit, Purja heads up on the recovery mission with a team of 10 sherpas.

"With all the planning, the time and the amount of people involved in making the project, we're certainly hoping for a positive result," Spencer told in an interview.

Finding Michael launches on Disney+ on Friday, 3rd March. Sign up to Disney Plus now for £79.90 for a year or £7.99 a month.


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