Oh Eun-Sun becomes first woman to scale world’s 14 highest peaks

Posted By: Selma Al-Faqih on May 6, 2010 2:01 pm

South Korean mountaineer Oh Eun-Sun became the first woman to climb all 14 of the world’s highest peaks when she scaled Mount Annapurna in Nepal last week.

Oh’s main rival, Edurne Pasaban, a Spanish woman just one peak behind in the race to climb all 14, disputed Oh’s claims to a 2009 climb up Kangchenjunga, claiming Oh did not have enough proof that she had reached the summit.

Climbers use GPS tracking, video, and photos to record their climbs. These are especially important when it comes to world records, as the lectures, books and endorsements will mean a payday for Oh.

Elizabeth Hawley, an 86-year-old American journalist who has been the unofficial officiate of all climbs in the region, interviewed Oh after her decent from Annapurna. Hawley has lived and served as a mountain historian and archivist in Kathmandu for 45 years.

Hawley interviewed Oh, asking about the allegations regarding her Kangchenjunga climb.

After carefully interviewing Oh Eun-Sun about the allegations regarding her climb up Kangchenjunga, Hawley asked her straight up if she had really climbed all fourteen of the world’s highest mountains, reports Stewart Green, (About.com).

Without hesitation, Oh replied, “Yes, I did.”

Satisfied with all Oh’s responses, Hawley said, “Congratulations.”

Hawley stated that Oh will be recorded as the first woman to climb all 14 peaks, but the ‘disputed’ tag will remain on her Kangchenjunga climb until Pasaban officially withdraws her protest. Pasaban previously stated she would accept Hawley’s decision.

Some people are surprised that a small 46-year-old woman would break such a laboriously won record.  Many Koreans are mountaineers as 70% of Korea is mountainous. It comes as no surprise to the South Koreans that Oh would be the first woman to scale the 14 highest peaks to make history.

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/akbc/ / CC BY-SA 2.0  Kanchenjunga