Everest 2006: South Korea to bring down trash and bodies
First he climbed them all. Now he is coming back - to clean them. The 11th person to climb the 14 8000ers on earth, South Korean Han Wang-Yong, launched a campaign in 2003 to clean the base of the mountains which brought him fame and glory.
Han started cleaning 8000+ peaks in October 2003, when he led a cleaning tour stopping at the lower outskirts of Everest, and Manaslu. In summer, 2004, the Korean climber retrieved tons of trash from an exhausted K2 after hundreds of climbers celebrated the mountain anniversary on its slopes. Some weeks later, during the fall season, he focused his efforts on Dhaulagiri. Last year - it was Annapurna's turn; and that's when Han announced he would return to Everest – this time to clean the upper half of the peak, on the Nepali side (from BC to C4 at the South Col).
Many ‘cleaning’ projects in previous years have been actually climbing expeditions, most of all on Everest. Teams have got sponsorship for their environmental aim, but once on the spot, the main goal has turned to reach the summit. In Han's case however, it seems the goal is actually to clean the place.
"I lead this campaign with the objective of handing over the beauty of nature to the coming generations in its original form," a press release quoted Han.
It is remarkable that a Korean climber is leading the initiative, since East Asian teams, often huge and climbing in heavy expedition style, have sometimes been criticized for leaving large amounts of gear and trash on the mountains, mainly in higher camps and along the route to the summit.
On Everest this spring, Han will lead an international team in an attempt to bring down up to 5 tons of trash, focusing on oxygen bottles and plastic wraps, but also bodies if possible. The latter might prove controversial though, as many climbers wish to remain on the mountain.
South Korean Han Wang-Yong, finished his quest to summit all the 14 8000ers on Earth when he reached the top of Broad Peak in summer, 2003. He was the 11th climber to complete the challenge.
It was not until the 1970’s that Koreans began to tackle high mountains abroad. Their first experiences were painful, though. In 1971, Kim Chong-sop and his party attempted to climb Manaslu (8156m). One team member fell to his death. An expedition to Lhotse Shar (8382m) by a party from the Korean Alpine Federation (KAF) failed in that same year due to snowstorms. In Kim Chong-sop’s second attempt on Manaslu in 1972, five members and nine Sherpas died.
The Korean Alpine Club then suspended Himalayan expeditions and, instead, dispatched a total of 13 climbers to French National Climbing and Skiing School (ENSA) in Chamonix for training.
As years passed, the Koreans returned to the Himalayan giants and never left. Check Adventure Stats for an account of their achievements. Source: Kim Jeong-tai and Korean Alpine Club.
Further information at: http://www.mounteverest.net/news.php?id=1644