Pasaban casts doubt on Oh’s record

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Pasaban casts doubt on Oh’s record

Rival mountaineer Edurne Pasaban of Spain has again raised doubts about whether Oh Eun-sun successfully summited Kangchenjunga in 2009.

In a radio interview Tuesday, the day that Oh’s ascent of Annapurna made her the first woman in the world to successfully scale all 14 eight-thousanders, the mountains rising more than 8,000 meters above sea level, Pasaban said she climbed Kangchenjunga shortly after Oh and did not see a rock at the summit that appears in Oh’s photo verifying her claim.

“Oh will have to clarify herself in Katmandu,” said Pasaban, 36. “She will be questioned and we will all be watching.”

Awaiting Oh in Katmandu, Nepal, will be Elizabeth Hawley, 86, an American who heads The Himalayan Database - an organization which for decades has kept records of all climbs in the Himalayas. Although Hawley’s organization is not officially recognized, its rulings are more respected by climbers than certificates provided by the Nepalese government.

Since interviewing Pasaban, Hawley has changed the status of Oh’s 2009 ascent of Kangchenjunga to “disputed.” If that is downgraded to “unrecognized,” Pasaban could still lay claim to the honor.

Hawley has said in the past that she wants to interview the Sherpa guide who accompanied Oh on many of her climbs and vouched for her claim at a press conference in Seoul last December.

“We stayed on the summit for just one minute. Due to violent gusts of wind, we had no time to do anything but take a couple of photos to prove her success,” the Sherpa said at the press conference.

Pasaban climbed Annapurna, her 13th eight-thousander, on April 17 and she is now in Tibet preparing to scale Shishapangma, her 14th and final.


By Jason Kim [jason@joongang.co.kr]
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