Is Oh Eun-sun the First Women To Scale 14 Highest Peaks?

oh eun sun mountain climberOh Eun-sun’s Himalayan victory is in dispute.RedTracker| South Korean Oh Eun-sun’s claim to be the first women to scale the world’s 14 highest mountains is already under a serious challenge. While the NYTimes reports that the 5’1” determined and exhausted Eun-sun’s arrival atop Annapurna was celebrated with “Hurray, Hurray!’ and “I would like to share this joy with the South Korean people”, the BBC flips the order of the facts, writing Is Korean Oh Eun=sun first woman to climb 14 top peaks?

When the subject is mountain-climbing in Nepal, there is no official record-keeper. Elizabeth Hawley, an 86-year-old American based in Kathmandu is the best authority in town. Last week Ms Hawley amended her Himalayan Database to mark Oh Eun-Sun’s 2009 ascent of Kangchenjunga as “disputed”, after listening to arguments from Ms Oh’s Spanish rival, Edurne Pasaban.

The BBC presents Oh Eun-sun’s celebration is a bit premature. One wonders then, if this victory could become an international female mountain-climbing cat fight. If Ms Hawley classifies Eun-sun’s 2009 ascent of Kangchenjunga as “disputed”, her competitors - Edurne Pasaban, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner of Austria, and Nives Meroi of Italy - will be back in contention.

Reading the NYTimes recap of the story and dispute, with such emphasis on international pride among the South Koreans over Eun-sun’s achievements, it’s easy to see how we could soon have an international incident, if Ms Hawley doesn’t buy into the entire story.

Ang Tshering, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, told AP: “We recognize her achievement as the first woman climber to scale all the highest mountains in the world,” says the NYTimes. The BBC details precisely the claims against Oh Eun-sun. Pick your media and you’ll get very different reads on the smale story. Anne