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Female Mountaineer Will Not Be Denied

Posted November. 24, 2006 06:50,   


Oh Eun-seon (photo), 40, is Korea’s top female mountaineer. She works in Youngwon Trading Company and is a member of Suwon University Mountain Club.

She succeeded in reaching the top of Sisha Pangma (altitude of 8,027 meters) in the Himalayas without an oxygen tank on October 14. Right after that, she tried to climb Cho Oyu (8,201 meters) without an oxygen tank, but had to descend just 100 meters before the top due to the bad weather.

Although she broke two ribs and cracked one after an accident on Sisha Pangma, she did not stop. She deserves to be called “iron woman.”

On November 23, the first thing she said when she met this reporter for interview was, “I’m thirsty. Give me a glass of cold water.” Something must have happened to her.

After she almost fainted descending from the summit of Everest (8,850 meters) alone in May 2004, she carried a thermos bottle containing Chinese tea with her and sipped it. But this day, she gulped down cold water.

“It’s really difficult. When I climb a mountain, everything goes okay if I’m doing good. But organizing a group is different. Finding a sponsor and group members is really hard.”

She has been planning to challenge another mountain after returning on November 9. She leaves for Mount Carstensz (4,884 meters) in Indonesia, the highest mountain in Oceania, on November 31.

She headed for the mountain right after taking off an iron brace on her leg that she broke during winter training on January 31. However, she could not even go near the mountain as climbing was not permitted due to insurgents. “Maybe the mountain doesn’t welcome me. But I will conquer it as soon as possible.”

If everything goes on schedule, she will fly to the Himalayas on December 18, three days after returning to Korea from Carstensz. She will climb Ama Dablam (6,812 meters), also known as the jewel of the Himalayas, located south of Everest with four other female mountaineers. In the expedition, she will work as the head of the group as well as head of the female climbers. “We have many excellent woman climbers. Unfortunately, they don’t have many chances to go up into the Himalayas. But I think they should challenge the mountain as many times as they can.”

The major problem she has is funding the expedition cost of around 90 million won. Youngwon Trading Company, where she works, and LIG Insurance Company are going to support part of the cost. Still she needs 40 million won.

“I will go to the mountain no matter what it takes. I’m prepared to sell even my house.” She says, “After succeeding in this expedition, I will also challenge Broad Peak (8,047 meters) and K2 (8,611 meters) with a group of female climbers.”