World’s notable mountaineers and explorers – Hong, Sung Taek is a Korean mountaineer, adventurer and explorer. He was born on 13th of March, 1966 in the countryside of South Korea, and grew up helping his parents with their farming. Growing up in the countryside, he was always surrounded by nature and ran around to the mountains and rivers. He started Judo when he was in junior high school and he took up the career as a Judo player since then. He won many titles when he was in high school, thereby he entered University as a Judo athlete and majored in Judo.
He trained very hard for the medal in Olympics and went through numerous matches. However, there was an unfortunate accident that his opponent severely injured during the match, and he was deeply pained by that accident and became disillusioned with the sport, and he quitted Judo and wandered. To ease the pain and find some peace of mind, he started to go back to the mountains that he loved in his childhood. From then on, he was absorbed in the mountains, joined the alpine club and spent all his time climbing and hiking mountains.
After knowing mountains, he began dreaming about becoming a mountain climber and climbing the Himalayas, and the dream and mountains literally dominated his life since then.
His physical strength built up by the Judo training made him stand out when he climb mountains, so he has been picked for the expedition team to the Himalayas. During those Himalayan climbing, he lead the team more than any other members and he started to feel that he has a strong ability to survive and he has a sort of instinctive wildness in him. Those experiences gave him confidence that he can do well on extreme climbing and exploration, so he firmly decided to be a professional mountain climber and polar explorer. He’s been keep challenging much higher, tougher destinations from that time.
He is currently a National Geographic Explorers supported by a National Geographic explorers program and a principal of KSAF Mountaineers Academy. He is renowned for reaching all the Three Poles and crossing the Bering Strait and Greenland for the first time. He summited Everest in 1995, skied to the South Pole in 1994 and walked to the North Pole in 2005. He also crossed Bering Strait by foot in 2012 and crossed Greenland by dog sledding in 2011. He was thus the first in the world to reach all the five poles (Everest, North and South Poles, Bering Straits, Greenland).
2019, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2007 & 1999 – He chose to reach Lhotse (8516 M) through one of the most technical, big and notorious walls in Himalaya, South Wall. However, he could reach upto 8300 M.
2012 – He crossed Bering Strait (by foot) (February 23 ~ 29, 2012)
2011 – He crossed Greenland (2500 km) (May ~ July 19, 2011)
2008 – He made an unsuccessful attempt to reach the summit of Everest SW face (8848 m)
2005 – He successfully reached North Pole (N90) (by foot) on 30th April, 2005
2002 – He made an attempt to Pumori thru east face (7117 m)
1998 – He successfully reached the summit of Thapa peak (6012 m) (April 18, 1998)
1996 – Dhaulagiri (8167 m) Annapurna (8091 m)
1995 – He successfully climbed Everest (8848 m) (October 14, 1995)
1995 – He made a successful bid of Shishapangma (8046 m) (August, 1995)
1994 – Sung reached South Pole (S90) (by ski and walk) (January 1, 1994)
1994 – He made an attempt to reach the summit of Pumori thru its NE face (7117 m)
1993 – He made the first bid to Everest (8848 m)
1992 – Sung successfully climbed Khan Tengri (7010 m) (August 5, 1991.
Credit – Website of Hong Sung Taek and other sources