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Late Mountain Climber`s Mentor to Carry On Her Dream

Posted August. 27, 2009 08:30,   


The late mountain climber Koh Mi-young, who was killed while descending from the summit of Nanga Parbat in the Himalayas last month, is known to have cried before her team leader Kim Jae-soo three times.

Kim said yesterday that she cried twice while talking about her personal life and once in a media interview at her base camp before climbing Nanga Parbat.

She said she was sorry to her leader because she received all the spotlight though Kim went through difficulty to videotape her.

Kim was there with Koh when she began scaling 10 Himalayan peaks from May 2007. Most Koreans, however, remember Koh only because she was a woman, and Kim drew the spotlight only after her death.

Kim said he loved to climb mountains with Koh, adding he remembers her as a person who gave him a “green dream.”

Kim now is ready to begin his own journey to the top of Annapurna (8,091 meters) from today. He will set up a base camp Sept. 5 before starting his trek between late next month and Oct. 5.

He has prepared climbing clothes in which he can carry Koh’s photographs. He will also have her photos attached to his clothes. Two big pictures are for a llama ritual for climbers’ safety and success. Kim and his team plan to observe the ritual Sept. 7, the 49th day after Koh’s death.

“No one can fulfill her dream,” he said. “But if Koh’s family wants someone to finish what she started, I hope that can be me. If there is such thing as a spirit, I think her spirit might want me to do the job.”

Kim’s upcoming climb is also providing solace for Koh’s bereaved family and is a process to lessen the burden on Kim’s heart.

After conquering Annapurna, he plans to climb three other Himalayan peaks next year.

“Many people think Koh’s goal was to climb 14 Himalayan peaks, but her real goal was to do it in the shortest period of time,” Kim said.

If he achieves his climbing goals in July next year as planned, Kim will set the record for the fastest time of just 39 months.

He will take Koh’s pictures with him until then, but will not bury her photo on the top of Annapurna because he said that if he does, her soul will leave forever.