Jesús González Calleja (Fresno de la Vega, León, April 11, 1965) is a Spanish mountaineer and adventurer; Among its highlights are the 2005 ascent to Mount Everest (8,848 meters high) and the 2006 and 2008 rise of the Seven Summits (the highest mountains in each continent, North America and Antarctica). He is pilot of airplane and helicopter. He also presents and stars the Extreme Challenge program for Cuatro and Energy television channels.
Born on April 11, 1965 in the Leon area of Fresno de la Vega, Jesus Calleja is the second son of Julian and Mary Jesus. As a child, his father read about Edmund Hillary’s expeditions to Mount Everest, from Ernest Shackleton to Antarctica, and other adventurers such as Roald Amundsen, Robert Peary, or Robert Falcon Scott. He soon fell in love with the mountain; While his father and brother fished, he preferred to go exploring on the mountain, throwing him more than once on the night, having to organize himself a beat to find him.
West side of Naranjo de Bulnes. His passion for climbing started on the train of Matallana where he traveled with thirteen years to enjoy the mountains of Leon (in places like Aviados, Pedrosa or Vegacervera), as Peña Ubiña, where he tested its first walls.2 Then came the Naranjo de Bulnes, where he has climbed five different roads on the west side, including Directísima.5 At the age of 21 he made his first visit to the Himalayas.
For a time he worked in his homeland as a hairdresser, like most of his family in Leon, and later co-owner of the family-owned car store that ran his younger brother, Kike Calleja. Meanwhile, and for 16 years, he was working as a guide on expeditions through the Himalayas and the Alps for a trekking and climbing agency in Spain. This allowed him, among other things, to climb numerous peaks such as the Stok-Kangri (6,150 m), the Randung-Go (6,000 m) or the baptized by him as Leon peak (6,300 m), as well as try to climb the Labuche Kang II (7,072 m). His relationship with Nepal, whose language dominates, surpasses that of the mere lover of the mountain, having traveled there more than 60 times. Everything he gained as a guide was invested in other expeditions, such as rafting the Zambezi River, living with the natives of New Guinea, learning to fly planes, etc.
At the age of 37 he decided to turn his life around, abandoning everything in the mountains. In 2003 he tried his first ochomil, Cho Oyu; Came without porters, without oxygen and riding his own camps. He was also accompanied by Juanito Oiarzabal and Manuel Caballero, and although Juanito managed to reach the summit, Jesus and Manuel could not because of bad weather. The following year, in 2004, he tried again with the help of a sherpa and without oxygen, reaching 8,201 meters of Cho Oyu.
That same year it crowned a virgin mountain of more than 6,000 meters located in the valley of the river Zanskar, in Ladakh, in the Indian Tibet, that was baptized with the name of “Madrid for the peace” with the objective to pay homage to the Victims of 11-M. The expedition could be followed in real time through its website.
In 2005 he proposed one of his dreams, to climb Mount Everest, which he wished to be very young when his father read stories about him.8 He was training since the beginning of the year, reaching an unexplored summit, which he called “León 16 de febrero”, in the mountain range Darwin (Chile) forming part of an expedition that he led. Then they went to the southern ice cream to climb Cerro Torre and Mount Fitz Roy, on the border between Argentina and Chile.9 At the same time, it sought to arouse the interest of public institutions and private companies, obtaining the patronage of the City of León, the Diputación Provincial de León, the Junta de Castilla y León and a recycling company.
Finally, in April of the same year he traveled to Nepal to undertake the ascent. He climbed the south side only in the company of a sherpa and with the help of oxygen (although initially he had the idea of climbing alone and without oxygen), until on May 30 he reached the summit, being the first Spaniard to climb That year by that southern face. Days before, the Asturian Rosa Fernández had achieved it by the north face in an exceptionally bad season.10 When she was at the top, she called her father via the satellite phone and recognized that they hardly spoke because they both started to cry.4 Promotion with the help of oxygen provoked some criticism later but Jesus defended himself by claiming that he had not been born with the virtue that had to have to hold up there without oxygen but that was why it was better or worse than another climber.
Descending from Everest, he came up with an idea. He thought that if he chained a series of expeditions he would not have to condition himself to look for money whenever he wanted to make one, so he got the same ones.