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Eun-super! Female Climber Achieves World First

Posted April. 28, 2010 15:00,   


Champion mountaineer Oh Eun-sun became the world’s first woman Tuesday to conquer the 14 Himalayan peaks by reaching the top of Annapurna.

Oh conquered four Himalayan mountains in 2008 and four more last year, accomplishing a feat that had been the exclusive territory of male climbers.

In the 2000s, female European mountaineers attempted to climb all 14 peaks, but such a milestone was considered beyond the reach of Korean women. So Oh’s conquest of the record in just a couple of years has drawn the attention of the global mountain hiking community.

A female climber draws public attention in and of herself, showing the narrow base of the mountaineer community for women. Korea’s first female-only expedition team for Mount Everest (8,850 meters) was formed in 1993. The late Ji Hyun-ok became the first Korean woman to conquer the world’s tallest mountain.

Since then, female Korean climbers have failed to make noise in their sport. Only one or two female climbers would join expedition teams dominated by men.

Oh’s records showed she ascended the 14 peaks alone and without oxygen tanks. Her solo climbs also means she avoided male-dominated expeditionary teams and instead went alone.

Edurne Pasaban of Spain developed under the great climber Juanito Oiarzabal, who became the sixth climber in the world to conquer the 14 Himalayan peaks. Oh, however, learned her climbing skills by herself.

In the wake of Oh’s achievement, the global mountain hiking community is paying more attention to the prowess of Korean climbers. Before Oh, 19 climbers in the world had conquered the 14 peaks. Three of the 19 climbers were Koreans -- Park Young-seok, Um Hong-gil and Han Wang-yong. Korea is tied with Italy for having the most climbers to conquer the 14 peaks.