Nirmal Purja
Credit: Nirmal Purja/Facebook

Two Women Accuse Renowned Mountaineer Nirmal Purja of Sexual Assault

Nirmal Purja, who starred in the Netflix documentary 14 Peaks, denied accusations this week that he sexually assaulted two women.

Nirmal Purja, the Nepalese mountaineer who starred in the Netflix documentary 14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible, denied accusations this week that he sexually assaulted two women.

The two women — former Miss Finland Lotta Hintsa and a California-based medical doctor named April Leonardo — shared detailed stories with the New York Times as well as text messages with Purja and others describing the events.

Hintsa, also a professional mountaineer, told the newspaper that Purja led her to a bedroom in March 2023 to discuss working on an expedition. Instead, he pulled her clothes off while she resisted and told him no. The incident ended with a frustrated Purja masturbating next to her.

Leonardo told the newspaper that her incident with Purja happened at a K2 base camp in June 2022. She said he cornered her in a storage tent and tried to force himself on her. She said he grabbed her arm, pulled her close, kissed her, and said "I will have you." While in shock by the encounter, she walked out.

However, Purja later showed up at Leonardo's tent uninvited, saying he wanted to check in on her injured knee. He reached into her sleeping bag without permission and then he kissed her and forced her to grab his crotch. Then, he suggested they have sex when no one was around, but she made excuses.

In a message posted to Instagram, Purja's team called the allegations "heinous" and "defamatory and false." He also said that he "unequivocally denies any wrongdoing."

"There are many blatant inaccuracies in the article and numerous critical facts left out," Purja's team said. They argued that the NYTimes left out "key details and context." They added that Purja is "currently evaluating his legal options."

Who is Nirmal Purja

The 40-year-old Purja rose to fame because of the 14 Peaks documentary. The film follows Purja as he leads a team to climb all 14 peaks taller than 8,000 meters in less than seven months. The previous record for climbing all 14 peaks was seven years.