Chilean expedition first to summit Mount Everest in 2012

After a grueling 57-day hike, the team made Chile’s fifth successful ascent, marking 20 years since the first Chileans stood at the world’s highest peak.

At 1:50 p.m. in the Himalayas on May 18, a small group of seasoned Chilean climbers reached an altitude of 29,000 feett (8,848 mt) and officially became the first team to summit the world’s highest peak this season.

And it was no easy going – during the epic 57-day journey, a camp was destroyed in an avalanche and two members had to turn back to lower ground.

The team of ten Chilean mountaineers and ten local guides was led by Everest veteran Rodrigo Jordan, marking 20 years since he was part of the first Chilean expedition to conquer the Himalayan giant.

Three other Chilean expeditions have successfully ascended Mount Everest, including an all-female team in 2001, led by Vivian Cuq.

This most recent team also included two other Chilean climbers with an Everest summit under their belts – Eugenio Guzmán and Ernesto Olivares, who both achieved the feat in 2004.

Three Chilean army personnel were also part of the expedition, and Defense Minister Andrés Allamand spoke with Jordan just after the team made its safe return to camp.

“The ten people who made it to the top have a huge team behind them and success came as a result of a great deal of planning,” said Allamand. “Jordan has become without a doubt one of the greatest sportsmen in Chile.”

A Santiago native, Jordan cut his teeth on the capital’s popular hill, Cerro San Cristóbal, before going on to practice in the Chilean Andes, Antarctica and eventually the Himalayas.

“When I was a boy, I lived very close to Cerro San Cristóbal and I climbed it alone,” said Jordan in an interview with Radio Cooperativa. “Then I was inspired by a university professor who taught mountaineering, so that’s how I started my relationship with mountains.”

For more on mountaineering in Chile, click here.

This post is also available in Spanish