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Korean Mountaineer: “I Feel Like Flying Because I Will Climb Again”

Korean Mountaineer: “I Feel Like Flying Because I Will Climb Again”

Posted September. 10, 2005 08:08,   


Oh Eun-seon (39, Youngone Corporation, Suwon University Alpine Club), the first female Korean climber to climb the highest peaks on all seven continents, will challenge the highest peak of Iran, Mount Damāvand (5,670 meters above sea level).

“I was bored for a while, but I am excited just thinking about standing on the summits of high mountains again,” she said.

Oh will depart on September 10 for Tehran to attend the joint ascent of Mount Damāvand by Asian women alpinists, hosted by the Union of Asian Alpinists Association. Korea’s best ice-wall climber, Lee Myung-sun (38, Climbing Academy, North Face Climbing Team), will also participate in the joint climb.

After her expedition to the highest point of Antarctica, the Vinson Massif (4,897m), last December 20, Oh completed her record of climbing the highest points of all seven continents. She has not climbed since then because she could barely walk after breaking her left leg while skiing this February. The skiing was part of her winter training.

“It was really humiliating that I climbed the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest (8,850m) all by myself without getting hurt, but had an accident in Mt. Taegi, Pyongchang, only 1,050 meters above sea level. But, I learned once again the simple truth that safety comes first, and also second.”

Lee, who is accompanying Oh on this expedition, won first place at the 2004 Tohwang Ice Wall Climbing Tournament and this year’s North Face Ice Wall Climbing Tournament expert course. It is her second expedition abroad; her first was a trip to the Alpine peak of Montblanc (4,807m) last year.

Both Oh and Lee graduated from Seoul Hwikyung Women’s Middle School. They both did not know about each other’s alpine careers until they met again in 20 years at the 2002 Women Alpinists Meeting.

Chang Jeon jeon@donga.com