중앙데일리

Himalayan blank spaces will be filled in during expedition

Mar 05,2007
Clockwise from left: Yim Seong-muk, Shin Jun-shik and Hiroko Suzuki. By Shin In-seop
Two Korean journalists and a Japanese interpreter have just embarked on a grand journey to explore the Trans Himalaya, an area east of Tibet that is called “the blank space” on the map of the Himalayas. Yim Seong-muk, a reporter for Climber magazine; Shin Jun-shik, a photographer for People and Mountain magazine; and Hiroko Suzuki, a photographer and interpreter, began their 65-day trip on Feb. 23. It has been 30 years since Go Sang-don became the first Korean to plant the Korean national flag on top of Mount Everest (8,848 meters above sea level).
“Tibet is called the roof of the world and it’s a strange place to most Koreans,” said Mr. Yim. “The east of the Nepalese Himalayas, where Mount Everest is located, the Nianqing Tangkula Mountains [7,162 meters above sea level] and the Kangri Garpo range are still waiting to be explored. To fill in the map’s blank space is the purpose of our exploration.”
To plan for the journey Mr. Yim has traveled around the area eight times since 2000. From 2004 onwards, he analyzed the geography of the region with military maps and sought permits to explore Tibet.
The trio began their journey in Chengdu, the capital of the old kingdom of Zhou. This is a tough journey across the glaciers of the Geladaindong peak in the Tangkula Mountains of Chinghai, the Nianching Tangkula Mountains, the Namche Barwa peak in the far east of the Himalayas and Markham Mountains in Winnan province. The estimated distance to be traveled by train, bus, on foot and on horseback is 15,000 kilometers (9,320 miles). A perennial snowfield, glaciers, gorges and altitude sickness are awaiting them. They may even encounter a primitive tribe that likes to give poisoned alcohol to strangers.
“Apart from the geography and the weather, we are going to study people’s customs and lifestyles,” Mr. Yim said. “So far only Britain, the United States and Japan have sent explorers here. Now Koreans have a chance to be in the forefront of exploring these areas.”
Mr. Yim has had a long love affair with mountains. He headed the Korean exploration of Mount Siguniang in the Qionglai Mountains and Lady Finger in the Himalayas. The exploration is also special for Mr. Yim because Ms. Suzuki, whom he met three years ago during an exploration in Sichuan province, is his fiancee. They decided to marry after a long-distance relationship lasting three years.
Mr. Yim plans to make entries in a journal about his exploration on his Web site (http://exploration2007.joins.com). He also intends to upload pictures of snow covered scenery untouched by humans.


By Kang Hye-ran JoongAng Ilbo [jbiz91@joongang.co.kr]


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