South Korean Becomes 1st Woman to Summit 14 Highest Peaks

A 44-year-old South Korean has made history by becoming the first woman to climb the 14 highest peaks in the world. Fighting exhaustion and climbing on all fours, Oh Eun-sun finally reached the summit of Annapurna after 13 hours, completing a mission that began, ironically, 13 years ago.

Oh, barely able to stand, took out a South Korean flag as people in her country watched her complete what no other woman has ever done before. “I would like to share this joy with the South Korean people,” she said. The Nepal Mountaineering Association, which supervises climbs in the Himalayas, recognized Oh’s achievement despite protest from her closest rival, Spaniard Edurne Pasaban. The Spaniard claims that Oh may have not actually reached the summit of Kangchenjuga when the South Korean climb the third-highest peak in the world last year.

Oh started her climb to history when she summited her first eight-thousander, or peaks reaching at least 8,000 meters, in 1997 by reaching the top of Gasherbrum II. Oh’s mission was closely watched in South Korea, a country that takes pride in the achievements of its athletes. President Lee Myung-bak immediately sent a congratulatory message after Oh reached the Annapurna summit on April 27.