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 Everest 2009: Mr Park attempts Everest from the Southwest route again !


 

Mr Park who has summited just about everything attempts Everest from the Southwest route again ! M. Park now 46, attempts the southwest route for the second time. Two year ago 2 of his fellow climbers died in an avalanche. More on his second attempt soon!

Earlier: PARK YOUNG SEOK BECOMES THE FIRST HUMAN BEING IN THE WORLD TO STAND ON ALL OF THE 14 HIGHEST 8000M HIMALAYAN PEAKS, THE 7 SUMMITS, AND THE 3 POLES. See here for more on the Grand Slam.

Korean alpinist Park Young Seok (The North Face Climbing Team, Korea) has succeeded in reaching the North Pole. This success of exploration has marked Park the first human being in the world to ascend the 14 Highest 8000m Himalayan Peaks, the 7 Summits (the highest peaks on each continent), and reach the 3 poles (Everest, The North Pole, and the South Pole). Park finally stepped his foot on the North Pole on April 30, 2005 00:00 PM.

In order to stand on the North Pole, Parkís Grand Slam Expedition Team began their exploration from Ward Hunt in Northern Canada on March 8 and marched 775 km on foot for 00 days. While the team was continuously pulling sleighs weighing up to 140kg, they also faced difficulties dealing with leads Ė open water due to split of ice shelf. His stand on the North Pole brings Park even more joy because the success has followed a failure to reach the North Pole in 2003. In addition, no other alpinists have reached the North Pole this year on foot besides Park and his team.  

Park, the 42-year-old explorer, not only has ascent the 14 8000 meter Himalayan peaks in the shortest period of time (8years and 2 months) in the world, but also holds the Guinness record for ascending the greatest number (6) of 8000 meter Himalayan peaks in one year. In addition, he holds the record for reaching the South Pole in the shortest period of time (44 days) by purely walking on foot without any resupply of food in 2004.  

The three other alpinists in the Parkís Grand Slam Expedition Team, Hong Sung Taek, Oh Hee Joon, and Jeong Chan Il, also held Parkís hands to shout for the victory at the North Pole. Park could not have reached the North Pole without the great team spirit and chemistry. In order to deliver a vivid detailed description in writing and graphic to the teamís supporters around the world, the newspaper reporter Jeon Chang and the expedition administrator Kang Donald Suk accompanied the team.

Since 1997, the Parkís Grand Slam Expedition Team has been supported and sponsored by Goldwin Korea (The North Face license holder in Korea) in all aspects of expedition. Goldwin Koreaís R&D team developed all the technical wears and equipments used during the North Pole and South Pole Expeditions in 2005 and 2004 respectively.

The Parkís Grand Slam Expedition Team including Park Young Seok plans to depart the North Pole on May 3, arrive at the base camp in Resolute, Canada, on May 4, and then return to Seoul, Korea on May 12.

Parkís Grand Slam represents the series of Parkís alpinist expeditions to stand on all of the 14 Highest 8000m Himalayan peaks, the 7 Summits, and the 3 poles. No other alpinists in the world have accomplished such Grand Slam before Park Young Seok. 

*Parkís Grand Slam Expedition

*The 14 highest 8000m Himalayan peaks

1 Everest 8,848m Nepal/China May 16, 1993
2 K2 8,611m Pakistan Jul 22, 2001
3 Kangchenjunga 8,586m Nepal May 12, 1999
4 Lhotse 8,511m Nepal Apr 29, 2001
5 Makalu 8,463m Nepal May 15, 2000
6 Cho Oyu 8,201m Nepal Sep 27, 1997
7 Dhaulagiri 8,167m Nepal Apr 27, 1997
8 Manaslu 8,163m Nepal Dec 6, 1998
9 Nanga Parbat 8,125m Pakistan Jul 21, 1998
10 Annapurna 8,091m Nepal May 4, 1996
11 Gasherbrum I 8,068m Pakistan Jul 9, 1997
12 Broad Peak 8,047m Pakistan Jul 30, 2000
13 Gasherbrum II 8,035m Pakistan Jul 19, 1997
14 Shisha Pangma 8,012m China Oct 2, 2000

*The 7 Summits

1 Everest (Asia) 8,848m Nepal/China May 16, 1993
2 Aconcagua(South America) 6,959m Argentina Jan 11, 2002
3 McKinley (North America) 6,194m Alaska Jun 2, 1994
4 Kilimanjaro (Africa) 5,895m Tanzania Feb 17, 1997
5 Elbrus (Europe) 5,642m Russia Jul 7, 2002
6 Vinson Massif (Antarctica) 4,897m Antarctica Nov 11, 2002
7 Carstenz (Oceania) 4,884m Indonesia May 11, 2002

*Three Poles

1 Everest 8,848m
2 The South Pole Dist:1,100km
3 The North Pole Dist: 775km

 

Everest from the South Side in Nepal

Base Camp - 17,500 feet (5350 meters)

This is a picture of the popular South Col Route up Mt. Everest.  Base camp is located at 17,500 feet.   This is where climbers begin their true trip up the mountain.  This is also where support staff often remain to monitor the expeditions and provide medical assistance when necessary.  Many organizations offer hiking trips which just go to base camp as the trip is not technically challenging (though you must be very fit). 

From base camp, climbers typically train and acclimate (permitting the body to adjust to the decreased oxygen in the air) by traveling and bringing supplies back and forth through the often treacherous Khumbu Icefall.    This training and recuperation continues throughout the climb, with the final summit push often being the only time to climbers do not go back and forth between camps to train, bring supplies, and recuperate for the next push. 

The Icefall is in constant motion.  It contains enormous ice seracs, often larger than houses, which dangle precariously over the climbers heads, threatening to fall at any moment without warning, as the climbers cross endless crevasses and listen to continuous ice creaking below.  This often acts as a testing ground to judge if less experienced climbers will be capable of continuing.   The Icefall is located between 17,500 and 19,500 feet.

Camp I - 5900 meters

After the Icefall, the climbers arrive at Camp I, which is located at 19,500 feet.  Depending on the type of expedition, Camp I will either be stocked by the climbers as they ascend and descend the Icefall, or by Sherpas in advance.

The area between Camp I and Camp II is known as the Western Cwm.  As the climbers reach Camp II at 21,000 feet, they may be temporarily out of sight of their support at Base camp.  Nonetheless, modern communication devises permit the parties to stay in contact.

Camp II - 6500 meters

As the climbers leave Camp II, they travel towards the Lhotse face (Lhotse is a 27,920 foot mountain bordering Everest).  The Lhotse face is a steep, shiny icy wall.  Though not technically extremely difficult, one misstep or slip could mean a climber's life.  Indeed, many climbers have lost their lives through such mishaps. 

Camp III - 23,700 feet (7200 meters)

To reach Camp III, climbers must negotiate the Lhotse Face. Climbing a sheer wall of ice demands skill, strength and stamina. It is so steep and treacherous that many  Sherpas move directly from Camp II to Camp IV on the South Col, refusing to stay on the Lhotse Face.

Camp IV - 26,300 feet (8000 meters)

As youíre leaving C4Öitís a little bit of a down slope, with the uphill side to the left. There are typically snow on the ledges to walk down on, interspersed with rock, along with some fixed rope. The problem with the rope is that the anchors are bad, and thereís not much holding the rope and a fall could be serious. Fortunately itís not too steep, but there is a ton of exposure and people are usually tired when walking down from camp. The rock is a little down sloping to the right as well, and with crampons on, it can be bit tricky with any kind of wind. Thereís a little short slope on reliable snow which leads to the top of the Geneva Spur, and the wind pressure gradient across the spur can increase there as youíre getting set up for the rappel. Wearing an oxygen mask here can create some footing issues during the rappel, because itís impossible to see over the mask and down to the feet. For that reason, some people choose to leave Camp 4 without gas, as itís easier to keep moving down the Spur when itís important to see all the small rock steps and where the old feet are going. Navigating down through all of the spaghetti of fixed ropes is a bit of a challenge, especially with mush for brains at that point. One lands on some lower ledges which arenít so steep, where fixed ropes through here are solid. At this point, itís just a matter of staying upright, and usually, the wind has died significantly after dropping off the Spur. The route turns hard to the left onto the snowfield that leads to the top of the Yellow Bands.

Camp IV, which is at 26,300 on the Lhotse face, is typically the climbers' first overnight stay in the Death Zone.  The Death Zone is above 26,000 feet.  Though there is nothing magical about that altitude, it is at this altitude that most human bodies lose all ability to acclimate. Accordingly, the body slowly begins to deteriorate and die - thus, the name "Death Zone."  The longer a climber stays at this altitude, the more likely illness (HACE - high altitude cerebral edema - or HAPE - high altitude pulmonary edema) or death will occur.  Most climbers will use oxygen to climb and sleep at this altitude and above.  Generally, Sherpas refuse to sleep on the Lhotse face and will travel to either Camp II or Camp IV.

Camp IV is located at 26,300 feet. This is the final major camp for the summit push.  It is at this point that the climbers make their final preparations.  It is also a haven for worn-out climbers on their exhausting descent from summit attempts (both successful and not).  Sherpas or other climbers will often wait here with supplies and hot tea for returning climbers.

From Camp IV, climbers will push through the Balcony, at 27,500 feet, to the Hillary Step at 28,800 feet.  The Hillary Step, an over 70 foot rock step, is named after Sir. Edmond Hillary, who in 1953, along with Tenzing Norgay, became the first people to summit Everest.  The Hillary Step, which is climbed with fixed ropes, often becomes a bottleneck as only one climber can climb at a time.  Though the Hillary Step would not be difficult at sea level for experienced climbers, at Everest's altitude, it is considered the most technically challenging aspect of the climb.

Summit - 29,028 feet (8848 meters)

Once the climbers ascend the Hillary Step, they slowly and laboriously proceed to the summit at 29,028 feet.  The summit sits at the top of the world.  Though not the closest place to the sun due to the earth's curve, it is the highest peak on earth.  Due to the decreased air pressure, the summit contains less than one third the oxygen as at sea level.  If dropped off on the summit directly from sea level (impossible in reality), a person would die within minutes.  Typically, climbers achieving the great summit will take pictures, gain their composure, briefly enjoy the view, then return to Camp IV as quickly as possible.   The risk of staying at the summit and the exhaustion from achieving the summit is too great to permit climbers to fully enjoy the great accomplishment at that moment.  

As most readers of this page know, the return trip can be even more dangerous than the climb to the summit.

 

 
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