Best of ExplorersWeb 2009 Awards: Park Young Seok, new route on Mount Everest

Posted: Dec 30, 2009 02:37 am EST

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 friends; accomplished high altitude mountaineers Oh Hee-Joon and Lee Hyun-Jo.

Everest traverse

Oh Hee-Joon used to deliver 47kg parcels to the Halla mountain shelter in Koreas mountains to make money for his training lessons and was known for his remarkable strength.

One year after the North Pole crossing he summited Everest from the north side - with Park who then traversed the mountain with another regular team-mate.

Serap Jangbu Sherpa had summited K2 with Park in 2001, witnessing his 14th 8000er. Now a hard Everest descent awaited the two.

The route was not yet opened leaving the climbers to come down without fixed rope or camps in worsening weather. With only one head-lamp, the exhausted men finally crashed in another team's tent in camp 3 on Everest south side.

While we looked elsewhere

The wild ideas mounted. The next year in 2007 Oh and Lee followed Park again, this time to attempt the SW face of Everest. This is where the triumphs ended. Oh Hee-Joon, 37, and Lee Hyun-Jo, 34, fell to their deaths high above 8000 meters.

Seume said it well already centuries ago: "Man ought always to have something that he prefers to life; otherwise life itself will seem to him tiresome and void."

Of course Park Young-Seok knew that. Still he broke down. 6 months later he re-emerged from a serious boozing spree, ready to tackle the dreaded face again, for his lost friends exactly.

"I will conquer the peak at any cost," he said. "Ill climb up even if my calf is ruptured. Ive built a good and bad relationship with the southwestern wall. It's about time I concluded it."

In that spirit, while all attention was focused on the normal route, Mr Park summited Everest this spring via a new line on the immense and technical SW Face.

"This is one of the most significant events this season, since the other two routes on the SW Face were opened long ago," concluded ExWeb's contributor and statistician Rodrigo Granzotto Peron. "27 years after, now we have a third route, a Korean Route."

Related story: Breaking news: Mr Park climbs Everest SW face.

Related story: StatCrunch, take 2: 8000er national ranking.

Related story: Pete Poston's Chomolungma Nirvana - the Routes of Mount Everest.

Previous in the countdown:

4. Miss Oh and Miss Go, Himalaya Dream Mile
5. Sarah Outen, Indian Ocean crossing
6. New route on Nanga Parbat
7. 14x8000ers summiteers.
8. AJ & FTA, corporate compassion
Special mentions:
- Good guys leaving too early: Tomaz, Piotr, Serguey, Martin, Oscar, Roby...
- GIII/GIV attempt and rescue.
- Nives Meroi, fame for love.
- North Pole-Greenland crossing and polar records.

#Mountaineering #Mountaineering #Stats #feature

Oh Hee-Joon perished while attempting Everest SW face in Park's 2007 expedition. Image courtesy of Donga (click to enlarge).
Korean Mr Park did the last new route on Everest. Will he have followers this season? (Park recently perished during a new route attempt on Annapurna.)
Everest SW face new route topo.
In 2007 Oh, 37, and Lee, 34, died on the SW face of Everest. In 2009 Park climbed a new line on the wall for them.
Young Seok's Everest SW face team.
The routes of Everest, compiled on an aerial image. The British SW face route is number 4; the SW Pillar is number 9 (click to enlarge).

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