Some colleges have a tradition of academics, football or perhaps wrestling or
Ice Hockey. Pacific Lutheran University has a tradition of Himalayan mountain
climbing. PLU graduate Lute Jerstad would summit Everest as part of the first
American expedition to do so in 1963.
PLU alum Chris Chandler, along with
teammate Bob Cormack, would repeat the feat during
America’s Bicentennial year (1976) as part of a CBS
Sports sponsored and filmed expedition. The relatively
small team of eleven climbers and thirty Sherpas, were
led by thirty-eight year-old State-Department lawyer,
Phil Trimble. Along with the expedition was a six-man TV
crew for CBS Sports.
Cormack and Chandler summited Everest on October the 26th
becoming the 56th and 57th people to do so. Unlike some previous teams the two
men were able to avoid a dangerous bivouac at high altitude and arrived safely
at Camp IV after dark.
Though there were some difficulties with what have been
described as “bureaucratic foul-ups”, the ascent did put two people on the
summit of Everest and the documentary film of the expedition “Everest: On Top
of the World” aired on CBS.
Chris Chandler died of cerebral and pulmonary edema while
the third highest mountain in the world, without oxygen in 1985.