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Champion Climber Found Dead in Himalayas

Posted July. 13, 2009 08:25,   


Champion mountaineer Ko Mi-young was found dead in a ravine yesterday after falling from a precipice while descending from the 8,126-meter Nanga Parbat in the Himalayas Saturday.

“After conquering the mountain at 8:30 p.m. Friday, she fell from a cliff on her way down at 10:30 p.m. Saturday,” her agency Kolon Sport said yesterday.

A rescue helicopter found her lying on her back at noon yesterday 100 meters above the Messner route where Camp 1 is located. Yonhap News said officials from the Korean Embassy in Pakistan her teammates confirmed her death, though her body has yet to be retrieved.

Ko took her first break at Camp 4 after conquering Nanga Parbat Friday. On her way down from Camp 3 to Camp 2, she fell from the precipice 6,200 meters away from Camp 3, which is just 100 meters shy of Camp 2.

Though climbers usually tie themselves together with ropes on their way down, the point at which Ko fell is referred as a “blade ridge,” which has a high possibility of avalanche and falling rocks that makes it impossible to use rope. She missed a step while passing the 10-meter course at a point where she was connected to her colleagues.

A Kolon source said, “We confirmed with her colleagues by phone that there was no avalanche or falling rocks when the accident happened. They assume Ko lost her balance amid sudden turbulence while she had no support from a fixed rope.”

Her three relatives, including her sister, and Bae Kyung-mi, chairman of the Korea Women’s Climbers’ Association, are expected to leave soon for Pakistan.