Details are not yet clear on what exactly caused the accident. Fellow mountaineers on the peak such as Italian Giuseppe Pompili were impressed by the lady climber, reporting she climbed strongly and summited on supplementary O2.
Go reportedly fell on descent at around 6200 meters and went missing close to camp 2. Korean media reports state that her remains have since been recovered.
Go Mi-Sun, 41, (also spelled ‘Ko Mi-young’ by some of the local media) became known as a “dark horse” in the quest for the first female to summit all 14, 8000ers. With 11, 8000ers summited in a very short time, after Nanga Parbat she would only have the “easy” Gasherbrums 1 and 2 plus Annapurna on the list.
Beside the “female” aspect however; Miss Go had a number of overall world records in Himalayan mountaineering.
ExWeb’s Himalaya statistician Rodrigo Granzotto Peron (Brazil) said in an email today that Miss Go was
- the first person to summit 3x8000ers in 3 consecutive years (2007, 2008 and 2009);
- had the fastest (72 days) ascent of 4 different main 8000ers (2009);
- and made the first ever triple-header in Himalaya (2009).
Kim loses his mate
The fatal accident is a big blow to Go’s regular climbing mate Kim Jae-Soo. Except for her first 8000er (Cho Oyu), Go Mi Sun had always climbed with Kim.
The two survived K2 together last year, but the tragedies on the mountain affected Go. Afterwards she told ExWeb’s Karrar Haidri in Islamabad that her team Sherpa Jumik Bhote had called home to his pregnant wife over a satellite phone from the summit. After he died, the wife gave birth to a baby girl. “This was very upsetting to me,” Go told Karrar.
At the time, Go told Karrar that she hoped to climb all 14, 8000ers by 2011, but shortly after sped up her ambition.
Following her Makalu-Kangchenjunga-Dhaulagiri triple this spring, she was headed for both Gasherbrums and Nanga Parbat this summer, hoping to crown her list with Annapurna in fall.
A climbing champion
Miss Go’s success in Himalaya was neither luck nor an easy challenge. Yet as is the case with most Korean climbers, in spite of her stellar achievements Go made waves outside the established (western) climbing community.
”Dhaulagiri was Go’s 10th 8000er and Kim’s 11th”, Windhorse trekking’s Ang Karma Sherpa told ExWeb from Nepal by the end of this spring season. It was also the Korean lady’s toughest climb until then, she told Ang Karma in an SMS. “We climbed for 25 hours non stop from camp III to summit and back due to the bad weather and ice showers constantly hitting our faces,” Mi-Sun reported back then.
The former Asian Women Sports Climbing, Asian Women Ice Climbing and Korean Women Mountaineering Ski champion had only doggedly entered the world top-league of Himalaya climbers, Ang Karma said.
It was a life-consuming quest. The youngest of 7 siblings, after completing elementary school and middle school at her hometown, Go moved to In-Cheon (enrolling in In-Sung Girls High School) which offered better opportunity to practice mountaineering, reported ExplorersWeb’s correspondent in Korea, Kyu Dam Lee, in an email today.
No easy life
Korean climbers live under very different conditions than western mountaineers. South Korea faces constant threat from communist North Korea and most elders have fresh memories from the Korean War (1950-53) that killed 2.5 million people. It has provided Korea with mountaineers known for taking bigger risks but also achieving spectacular climbs such as Mr Park’s recent new route on Mount Everest.
Miss Go was in it less for the race, but more as a means to become something bigger than her destiny. Her records set a number of milestones for the world mountaineering community, in the end underlining the seriousness of Himalayan 8000+ meter exposure.
Miss Go’s life was a source of great pride and joy to her family. While her memory is bound to inspire in the future, at this time their loss is huge.
“Her father, 84, (currently staying with Miss Go’s elder sister’s house in Song-Pa, Seoul) only cries in silence, her mother is 71 years old,” Kyu told ExplorersWeb.
The Korean embassy in Pakistan confirmed Go Mi-Sun’s death today. Her body will be airlifted by helicopter tomorrow, and transported to Korea soon after her family has arrived in Islamabad. Go’s aunt, sister in law’ and sister Mi-Ran (48) are scheduled for Islamabad on Thursday together with members from supporting Kolon Sports.
Her uncle recalled Go’s last words upon departing on the summit push as, “please pray for my successful summit of Nanga Parbat.”
“Her father loved her so much,” the uncle added, “and always followed her.”
“All the members of her family are in deep sadness,” Kyu told ExplorersWeb.
Go Mi-Sun “Miss Go” (of Cheong-Ho Village, Ha-Seo city, Bu-An county in Jeon-La-Buk-Do/North Jeon-La Province) in Korea summited CH in 2006; EV, BP and SH in 2007; LH, K2 and MN in 2008 ; and MK, KG, DH and NP in 2009.
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