Hernán Leal

Leal along with other climbers on Kanchenjunga summit during the Fastco Boyden Kanchenjunga Expedition 2019. Photo Courtesy: Hernán Leal via THT
KATHMANDU: A 53-year-old climber from South America has become the first Chilean climber to stand atop the world’s third highest peak. Hernán Leal, who became the first South American to successfully climb Mt Everest and Mt Lhotse in a single season last year, has added another feather to his cap becoming the only climber from Chile to scale Mt Kanchenjunga. According to Jiban Ghimire, Managing Director at Shangri-La Nepal Treks, Leal along with Lhakpa Chhiri Sherpa Lhakpa Chhiring Sherpa, Cheten Dorji Sherpa and Rajan Bhote successfully scaled Mt Kanchenjunga at 5:35 am on Wednesday. Hernán was a part of the Fastco Boyden Kanchenjunga Expedition 2019 organised by Shangri-La Excursion, he added. He has already climbed the highest peaks in all seven continents becoming one of seven Chileans to achieve that feat, according to Ghimire. According to a record at the Department of Tourism, none from Chile had successfully climbed Mt Kanchenjunga in the previous climbing seasons. Upon arrival from Mt Kanchenjunga, Leal said that his climb was possible only because of the team effort. “Though I was the only member of the expedition, I had a strong team that performed very well. He also added that he planned to climb either Mt Shishapanga or Mt Manaslu in the upcoming autumn. Leal said, “I want to be the first Chilean to complete the seven highest peaks in the world.” Leal, who is also a motivational speaker, said he also wanted to share his experience with the rural kids in Nepal. “I want to inspire them to dream big.” After beginning his climbing career in 2013, Leal had also climbed Mt Everest in 2017 from the Tibetan side. An engineer by profession, Leal has founded a company called FASTCO Collections. “I want to inspire youths, especially schoolchildren, to travel around their native land, along with the mountain areas closest to them,” Leal concluded.