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Korean Climbers Reach Everest Summit

Posted May. 12, 2006 02:59,   


Park stayed on top of the mountain for about an hour and left with his sherpa guide Serabjangbu (37) toward the southeastern ridge on the Nepalese side where no known route had been charted. Without a tent to stay in, the mountain climbers must face a harsh environment in which frostbite can easily claim fingers and toes in weather that feels like it is below -40 degrees Celsius. Park’s success depends on whether he can reach Camp 1 (6,000m above sea level) installed on the Nepalese side by other expedition by the afternoon of May 12.

Headed by Park, the Everest Crossing Expedition (sponsors: Dong-A Ilbo, LIG Insurance, The North Face, and Dongguk University) arrived at Tibet’s Everest base camp (5,100m above sea level) on April 10 and succeeded in pioneering a new route before any of the other 20 participating teams.

The five expedition members and four sherpas left their last camp located 8,300m above sea level at 3:45 a.m., May 11. The well-prepared crew was ready to take on 12mps gusts in -30 degree Celsius weather.

At normal speed, it usually takes 11 to 12 hours to reach the top from the last camp. But for veteran Oh Hee-jun (36, The North Face Alpine Team), who had climbed Himalayan 8,000m-class peaks six times previously, and Serabjangbu, who had climbed eight peaks in the same class, it took only nine hours and five minutes before they arrived at the top at 12:50 p.m.

Park joined the two about two hours later because he had to care for first-time climber Lee Hyeong-mo (27, Kwandong University Mountain Climbing Club).

On the highest ground in the world, Park buried wish-notes written by 24 children suffering from rare diseases. Park asked the children and their parents to never to give up and never to lose hope.

Becoming the 16th person to have reached the Earth’s three extreme points (South Pole, North Pole, and Everest), the team’s vice captain Oh and Lee safely returned to their last camp. Park and Serabjangbu plan to arrive at Lukla via a Nepalese base camp and head for Katmandu on an airplane, while the rest of the team members cross over to the Nepalese side from the Tibetan town of Jangmu. The expedition will start withdrawing their camp as soon as Park’s return is known, and return to Korea around May 20.

Chang Jeon jeon@donga.com