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with Stefan Nestler

Sung Taek Hong wants to come back

Sung Taek Hong on Lhotse South Face

The half dozen is full. For the sixth time, Sung Taek Hong returns empty-handed from Lhotse to South Korea, for the fifth time from the South Face of the 8,516-meter-high mountain in Nepal. As already reported, also the second summit attempt failed. Despite strong winds, Hong had ascended again to Camp 4 at 8,250 meters on November 20 and spent a night there in a broken tent, Kyu-po Pyun, spokesman of the Korean expedition, wrote to me. Hong “was aware that safe climbing is not possible anymore. He decided to descend.”

No option but to abandon the expedition

Difficult conditions

The team set off from the base camp on 16 November, wrote Pyun. The wind was so strong that Hong was hardly able to stand. “He had to lean on fixed ropes and ice axes to hold his body.” At the summit, the jet stream was blowing at speeds of more than 120 kilometers per hour. “The weather seemed to be not getting better anymore in this season. He had no option but to end the expedition.”

“Lifelong objective”

Sung Taek Hong can return to South Korea with his head held high – as he did in his earlier attempts. The 50-year-old as well as the Spaniard Jorge Egocheaga and their companions have given it their all. A total of three times they reached an altitude of 8,250 meters in the wall and were thus higher than the summits of nine of the 14 eight-thousanders. But the summit of the fourth highest mountain on earth remained beyond their grasp. According to Kyu-po Pyun, Hong “wishes he can come back to Lhotse South Face next spring to complete his lifelong objective”.


25. November 2017 | 22:21