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Reaching the Poles

Posted May. 13, 2005 23:34,   


One individual who completed this feat is Park Young-suk. The 42-year-old is the first explorer who completed the Grand Slam on May 1 in a second attempt, reaching the North Pole. To complete the Grand Slam, an explorer must walk to the North and South Poles, reach Mount Everest as well as 14 summits in the Himalayas, and climb the highest summit on all seven continents. The other is Song Gang-ho. The 38-year-old actor took on a role as a leader, Choi Dae-ho, as part of an expedition team in the movie “Antarctic Expedition Journal,” due to be released on May 19.

Park came back to Korea just a day earlier, and Song was busy with the release of the movie just days away. Yet upon learning of the news that Park returned, despite his busy schedule, Song rushed to a coffee house on Sejongro, Seoul May 13 with a beaming face.

The two resemble each other in that they are just ordinary people but, if necessary, they become very courageous.

“I was surprised to see him preparing for the Arctic expedition that he had once failed. I thought he was a charismatic person, but when we had dinner and drinks together, I felt that he was like a kind and friendly older brother. Yet I could still see his glaring eye.”

“What is the difference between the North and the South Poles?” asked Song to Park who reached both poles.

“Climbing the South Pole is child’s play. The South Pole is on the continent, so I can reach it on white nights, and the weather is relatively bearable. But I must go to the North Pole in the winter when the sea is frozen. When I started the expedition, the temperature was minus 50 to 60 degrees Celsius, and at the pole, it was minus 25 Celsius. Besides, the North Pole is sliding backwards. After I struggle to go 20 kilometers forward, sometimes I find myself being behind where I started when I see the global positioning system (GPS). That drives me nuts.”

“I now want to try. After I finish the film I’m acting in, I think I will try ‘Arctic Expedition Journal,’” responded Song, laughing. “I heard you cursed a lot this time. I’m good at acting out such a character.”

Sung-Kyu Kim kimsk@donga.com