Yesterday, Oh Eun-Sun crawled up the final snow slopes and reached the summit of 26.247-foot Annapurna, completing her quest to become the first woman to ascend all fourteen of the world's 8,000-meter peaks. She becomes the 20th person to climb all of the world's highest mountains, a feat first accomplished by Reinhold Messner.
It took 13 hours for Oh and her entourage, including a group from Korean television station KBS who broadcast the event live in Korea, to climb from a high camp to the summit of the world's tenth highest mountain. On reaching Annapurna's summit, she planted the South Korean flag in snow, then turned and bowed toward a TV cameraman and shouted, "Mansae!" or "Hurrah!" Oh wept and said to the camera, "I am happy and thank you." She also said, "Mama, papa, I miss you. I want to go home."
Oh Eun-Sun's ascent of all the 8,000ers is currently in dispute, as I reported in earlier blog posts. It's unclear if her ascent of Kangchenjunga will be recognized and verified. In the meantime, despite all the controversy surrounding not only Kangchenjunga but also the climbing tactics used by her Korean climbing team, Oh can have her place in the sun--atop the lonely windswept summit of Annapurna.
Photograph above: Oh Eun-Sun on the summit of Annapurna, her 14th and final 8,000-meter peak. Photograph courtesy KBS-TV.