Korea Remembers Fallen Climbers

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A memorial service was held yesterday for Korean climbers Park Young-Seok, Shin Dong-Min, and Kang Ki-Seok, who went missing on Annapurna last month. The three men were attempting to scale the mountain along a new route, but turned back before reaching the summit when they encountered treacherous conditions. They radioed back to Base Camp that they were descending, but were never heard from again.

Hundreds of mourners attended the memorial, including mountaineer Kim Jae-Bong, who was rescued by Park while climbing on Shisha Pangma some years back. Park was already a legendary figure in the Korean adventure community as he had become the first person to complete the “Adventure Grand Slam,” which consists of not only climbing all 14 8000-meter peaks, but also reaching both the North and South Pole. Park was such a strong climber, that he once climbed six of those peaks in a single year, a feat of endurance that is very impressive indeed.

While the search for the missing climbers was brought to an end due to bad weather and deteriorating conditions, several members of the Korean Alpine Federation have vowed to return to Annapurna in the spring and continue looking for the missing men.

ExWeb also posted a report on the memorial, including a fitting quote from Park, who once said:

“Mountaineers must go to mountains, explorers must go to explore. Cities are no place for climbers. I have the destiny of the explorer, (my fate is) to explore till I die.”

 Some may see this as a rather fatalistic or prophetic view of how he thought he would die, but I choose to see it more as a very insightful view of how he chose to live.

Kraig Becker