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Tragedy-Hit Mountaineer Taking on Everest Again

Posted September. 03, 2008 09:39,   


Park Young-seok, a mountaineer and the director of Goldwin Korea, had his cherished rugged cut short early last month after deciding to conquer the Southwest Face of Mount Everest again.

Park, 45, had led a group of mountaineers through a new route of the Southwest Face in May last year, only to lose Oh Hee-joon and Lee Hyeon-jo to an avalanche. The two had accompanied Park in climbing the Himalayas and conducting polar exploration and had lived with him like family since 2000.

As a token of remorse, Park got a crewcut and said he has only thought about his two dead friends and the Southwest Face. He said he kept to himself and drank for six months to relieve his sorrow.

Finally, however, he decided to try again. “I don`t want my friends to have died in vain. If I give up, I won’t dare see them later.”

Park left for Mount Everest Tuesday, this time more thoroughly prepared. He climbed a 6,000-meter peak in China`s Sichuan Province for a month in April to renew his hiking instincts. He led in July national walking tours of Korea for college students, which he has participated for five years, walking 640 kilometers every day to build stamina.

He even quit smoking.

Park declined to hold a ceremony for his trip this time, saying, “I cannot make it public because of the tragic event that happened last year.”

All 11 members of Park`s team will go on this expedition, with four having left for Kathmandu, Nepal, Aug. 25.

The Southwest Face is a 2,500-meter dark and rocky cliff so steep, snow does not land on it. A British team led by Sir Chris Bonington first climbed the face in 1975 and a Russian team pioneered another path on it.