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First Woman Climbs the World’s 14 Highest Peaks!

Oh Eun Sun, picture from Korean Times

Oh Eun Sun, picture from Korean Times

History was made today!

On April 27, 2010, the South Korean woman Oh Eun-Sun returned from completing her climb of Annapurna in Nepal, the last of the 14 highest peaks.

A few months ago I wrote about Oh Eun-Sun’s quest, and it brings a smile to my face that a woman has now joined the ranks of the world’s foremost climbers!

Oh Eun-Sun is only 5 feet 1 inch tall, but despite her diminutive stature, she has stood on the top of ALL of the world’s peaks that are over 8,000 meters (26,247 feet) high.

In 1997, she climbed the first of her 14 peaks, the Himalayan mountain Gasherbrum II. After years of training and successes on other peaks, she finally achieved her dream.

“For a while after a successful climb, I seriously consider quitting, but I find my heart longing for the exhilaration I had on the top of a summit.” – Oh Eun-Sun, describing her passion for mountaineering to The Korea Times

There has been a lot of news recently about the “race” to become the first woman to accomplish this feat – her rival, Edurne Pasaban, claims that Oh Eun-Sun’s sherpas said that they didn’t make it to the peak because of bad weather on Mt. Kangchenhunga. Currently it is under investigation, so we’ll see if Edurne Pasaban takes Oh Eun-Sun’s place as the first woman to officially climb the 14 highest peaks.

The Spanish climber Edurne Pasaban has just one more mountain to go, Mount Shisha Pangma. Best of luck to her as well as the attempts her last summit.

Regardless of the outcome of the investigation into Oh Eun-Sun’s summit on Mt. Kangchenhunga, Oh Eun-Sun is an amazing mountaineering, and congratulations to her for summiting the highest mountains in the world!

Korean Climber Trying to be First Woman to Complete All 14 8,000-meter summits!

Oh Eun Sun, picture from Korean Times

Oh Eun Sun, picture from Korean Times

“By conquering the 14 world’s tops, I would like to give hope to Korean people suffering from the slumping economy.” – Oh Eun Sun, 2009

A 43-year old South Korean, Oh Eun Sun, reached the summit of her 13th 8,000-meter peak, and is headed to Nepal this fall to attempt to climb Annapurna, the last one on her list!

Very few men have achieved this accomplishment, and Ed Viesturs is the only American to have done so. To boot, he made all of his climbs without supplemental oxygen. Oh Eun Sun would be the first woman to complete this amazing feat! Let’s wish her luck!

Check out this really great interview and learn more about Oh Eun Sun!

For those of you unfamiliar with the 14 8,000-meter peaks, these are the highest points in the world, with Everest being the highest. All are above 8,000 meters, or 26,200 feet. as a basis of comparison, the highest mountain in the continental U.S. is Mt. Whitney in California, which is a “mere” 4,421 meters, or 14,505 feet.

All 14 of the world’s 8,000 meter peaks:

Mountain Elevation (meters) Location
1 Everest 8,848 Nepal/Tibet
2 K2 8,611 Pakistan/China
3 Kangchenjunga 8,586 Nepal/India
4 Lhotse 8,516 Nepal/Tibet
5 Makalu 8,463 Nepal/Tibet
6 Cho Oyu 8,201 Nepal/Tibet
7 Dhaulagiri 8,167 Nepal
8 Manaslu 8,163 Nepal
9 Nanga Parbat 8,126 Pakistan
10 Annapurna I 8,091 Nepal
11 Gasherbrum I 8,068 Pakistan/China
12 Broad Peak 8,047 Pakistan/China
13 Gasherbrum II 8,035 Pakistan/China
14 Shishapangma 8,027 Tibet

Update: On April 27, 2010, Oh Eun-Sun became the first woman to climb the world’s 14 highest peaks!