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For Globe-Spanning Ultra Light Aircraft, Next Stop Is the Sky

For Globe-Spanning Ultra Light Aircraft, Next Stop Is the Sky

Posted November. 08, 2005 07:25,   


This happened when I visited the northernmost Canadian Inuit (Eskimo) village “Resolute” as part of the North Pole Expedition Team led by Park Young-seok in February of this year. I found a sled, with clear Korean writing “Korean Fiber.” I was so happy to see it that I shed tears of emotion which, with temperatures minus 40 - 50 degrees Celsius, froze and dangled on my cheeks.

This sled was used by Heo Young-ho (51, Dream & Adventure President) a decade ago in 1995 when he successfully crossed the North Pole, and the Inuit are still using it.

Heo is the first Korean explorer to combine the vertical exploration of climbing high mountains and horizontal exploration of crossing the frigid Arctic Ocean and the Antarctic continent.

He reached the summit of Makalu (8,463 meter above sea level) in his first expedition abroad in 1982, and the following year climbed Manaslu (8,156 m) without oxygen tanks. Then on December 22, 1987, he became the third person in world alpine history to successfully climb Mt. Everest (8,850m) in winter, thus becoming a world-class alpinist.

The following year, 1988, he suddenly visited Resolute, a base camp of the North Pole exploration. “I wanted to experience something where everything was new” was his reason for exploring the poles of the world. There were also many trials and errors. Although he visited the place twice, he failed twice, in 1990 and 1991, to reach the North Pole. In 1994, he moved his challenge to the South Pole and succeeded. The next year, Heo finally reached the North Pole and became the third person to reach all three poles of the world: Mt. Everest, the North, and the South Pole.

In December of the same year, he reached the apex of Vinson Massif (4,897m), the highest peak in Antarctica, and put his name on the list of those who have climbed the top peaks of all seven continents.

He was the first person ever to achieve the “adventure grand slam” by going to the top spots of the seven continents and the three poles of the world.

Currently with all types of lecture requests coming every other day, Heo is quite busy. Nevertheless, he says, “I am still active. This year I went to Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa.” He plans to go around the globe in an ultra light aircraft.

Chang Jeon jeon@donga.com