2006 image over Contact 3.0 of Korean Park Young-Seok (left) and Serap Jangbu Sherpa after a wild Everest traverse without ropes high up. Serap Jangbu also summited K2 with Park in 2001, witnessing his 14th 8000er. (Image courtesy of Philippine GMA7 team).
Climbing all the 14x8000ers and walking to both poles, in 2005 Korean Park Young-Seok completed the world's first Adventure Grand Slam. With him at the North Pole were two of his closest climbing friends; Oh Hee-Joon and Lee Hyun-Jo.
In 2007 Oh, 37, and Lee, 34, followed Park again, this time to attempt the SW face of Everest. The two fell to their deaths high above 8000 meters. Park Young-Seok broke down. 6 months later he re-emerged from a serious boozing spree, promising to finish the challenge for his friends at any cost. In that spirit, while all attention was focused on the normal route, Mr Park summited Everest in the spring of 2009 via a new line on the immense and technical SW Face.
Image clips of the fall 2011 Annapurna South Korean expedition, led by Young-Seok Park.
courtesy Young Seok-Park
"Legal" 14x8000er summiteer Jae-Soo Kim (left) and ExWeb correspondent in Korea Kyu Dam-Lee, chatting over dinner in Seoul.
courtesy Kyu Dam Lee
Himalaya current: Korea in focus, stats and more

Posted: Sep 30, 2011 02:13 am EDT
(AdventureStats) In the big picture, some believe that South Korea is the next boom economy. Judging from their climbers, the country sure seems hungry and fast enough. In Himalaya, with Young-Seok Park (name spelling varies, so collectively known as 'Mr. Park') at the helm, Koreans are once again making waves this fall.

The fist summit news this season came from Cho Oyu and they were Korean. Jae-Soo Kim and four mates topped-out on Friday and because his previous Cho Oyu ascent long time ago was bootstrapped without a permit, it took this long for Jae Soo to became a "legal"14x8000er summiteer at last.

En route to Annapurna BC, Mr Park, 48, is well-known to the hard-core exploration community. If there is such a thing as a "Grand Slam" in adventure then Park is it.

He climbed all 14, 8000ers (which obviously includes K2), skied to both poles, carved a new route on Everest in 2009 (for which he won an ExWeb award) and now he plans a new line between the British and Japanese routes in alpine style on Annapurna south face.

On the occasion, Rodrigo Granzotto Peron compiled some stats for ExplorersWeb. Here goes.

A note on South Koreans 8000ers collectors
By Rodrigo Granzotto Peron

Everybody must have noticed that the S Korean racers are collecting 8000ers faster than climbers from any other nationality.

All began in 1997, with influential Park Young-Seok. Back then, he chain-climbed Dhaulagiri, Gasherbrum I, Gasherbrum II and Cho Oyu in 145 days, from April to September. Himalayan Database also validates his summit on Lhotse, making this a five-8000ers-run in a calendar-year, but this is a controversial subject, since other staticians do not accept Park's Lhotse climb.

Park's pupil Oh Hee-Joon repeated the performance in 2006, summiting Everest, Gasherbrum II, Gasherbrum I and Manaslu in 162 days.

Ms Oh Eun-Sun, in 2008, also summited four main 8000ers in a single year: Makalu, Lhotse, Broad Peak and Manaslu.

In 2009, three South Koreans emulated the conquest of Park. Climbing together, Ms Go Mi-Sun and Kim Jae-Soo made the first triple-header ever in Himalaya (Makalu, Kangchenjunga and Dhaulagiri) and completed the set with Nanga Parbat in Summer. And, again, Ms Oh Eun-Sun made four (Kangchenjunga, Dhaulagiri, Nanga Parbat and Gasherbrum I). Oh became the first climber to summit four main 8000ers two consecutive years.

In 2011, Kim Chang-Ho and Seo Sung-Ho became the sixth and the seventh S Koreans to summit four main 8000ers in a calendar-year. With
Annapurna in Spring, the combo G1 + G2 in Summer and Cho Oyu in Autumn, they achieved the feature in 149 days.

Beside the S Koreans and the Sherpas who made 4x8000ers in a year, just Rob Hall (1994), Carlos Carsolio (1995) and 'Gnaro' Mondinelli (2001) completed the task. So, South Koreans are the
absolute masters of speed-collecting 8000ers.

S. Koreans who summited 10 or more 8000ers:

14 Park Young-Seok
14 Um Hong-Gil
14 Han Wang-Young
14 Oh Eun-Sun
14 Kim Jae-Soo
13 Kim Chang-Ho
12 Seo Sung-Ho
11 Ko Mi-Young
10 Oh Hee-Joon

Of those climbers with ten 8000ers or more, South Korea (with 9) only loses to Italy (with 10), and is ahead of Spain (8), China (4), Kazakhstan (3), Poland (3), France (2), Nepal (2), Russia (2) and Switzerland
(2). Austria, Australia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Finnland, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, Slovenia, UK, Ukraine and USA have one each.

Editors note: Peron's personal opinions are valued but not always shared by ExplorersWeb.

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