Hong Sung Taek continues his saga on Lhotse's Legendary South Face

Dream Wanderlust | Oct 23 , 2017

South Korean mountaineer, Hong Sung Taek (51) and his Spanish partner Jorge Egocheaga Rodriguez (46) are in Nepal to climb the world's fourth highest peak, Mt. Lhotse (8516m) via South Face this autumn. According to Wanchu Sherpa, Managing Director of their support agency, Trekking Camp Nepal, they have already opened route till Camp-4 and team is now preparing for their final summit push. This is Hong's fifth attempt to summit the mountain via the South Face, considered to be one of the toughest climbs of the world. The south face of Lhotse is challenging because of the presence of a vertical wall of height 3300m (11000 feet) with frequent snowfall, rockfall, avalanches and severe winds. This time the team consists of 14 members including 7 Nepalese supporting staff. The expedition is supported by National Geography.

Hong proposed a new routh on this wall (similar with Jerzy Kukuczka's route (slightly modified) in 1989, to the right side than the Russian route in 1990) for his expedition. Hong's previous expedition on that route* are as follows:
2015 Autumn reached to 8200m
2014 Autumn
2007 Spring
1999 Autumn

Lhotse South Face - Some Notable Ascents:

1973 - First attempt by a Japanese expedition led by Ryohei Uchida, reached 7300m. [HJ 1975, Vol.33, AAJ 1976, JAN Vol.2 April 2002]

1975 Attempt by Italian team including Ignazio Piussi, Reinhold Messner, Franco Gugiatti, Gigi Alippi, Sereno Barbacetto, Aldo Leviti, Mario Curnis, Giuseppe Alippi, Mario Conti, Alessandro Gogna, Gianni Arcari, Fausto Lorenzi, Dr. Franco Chierego and Aldino Anghileri, leader Riccardo Cassin. They reached 7500m. [AAJ 1976]

1980 April 27 French climber Nicolas Jaeger disappered while climbing at an altitude 8200m. [AAJ 1981]

1981 Attempt by an Yugoslavian expedition led by Aleš Kunaver. Vanja Matijevec and Franček Knez reached the edge of wall (8250m). [AAJ 1991, ales.kunaver.com]

1985 October 23-26 Attempted by Michel Fauquet and Vincent Fine of French team in Alpine style. They reached 7200m. They turned back after witnessing the fall of the Polish climber, Rafal Cholda, who had slipped while climbing with Kukuczka above 8000m. After retreating Vincent joined with the Polish team and then along with Artur Hajzer reached the foot of the final rock barrier, but turned back due to extreme cold. [AAJ 1986, "Lhotse South Face - The Wall of Legends" - Edward Morgan]

1989 Attempted by Polish Artur Hajzar and Krzysztof Wielicki of International team lead by Reinhold Messner,  reached 7100m. [AAJ 1990]

1989 October 24 Legendary Polish climber Jerzy Kukuczka died while climbing with Ryszard Pawlowski at an altitute about 8200m, when his second-hand rope breaks. [AJ 1990/91]

1990 April 24 Tomo Česen from Slovenia, makes first solo ascent of South Face of Lhotse. Controversy of his climb is later raised by many climbers including Reinhold Messner. [AAJ 1991, Climbing Magazine Issue 142 February 1 - March 15, 1994]

1990 October 16 Considered to be the First undisputed ascent(till date only) of South Face by the USSR Himalayan expedition members Serguey Bershov and Vladimir Karataev. [AAJ 1991, russianclimb.com]

2001 November/December Probably the first Winter attempt by a Japanese expedition led by Osamu Tanabe, reached to 7600m. [JAN Vol.2 April 2002, AAJ 2007]

2003 November/December Winter attempt by a Japanese expedition led by Osamu Tanabe, reached to 8250m. [AAJ 2007]

2006 November/December Winter attempt by a Japanese expedition led by Osamu Tanabe. On 27th December Tanabe and Takahiro Yamaguchi reaced to 8475m and turned back 41m short of the summit due to exhausion and lack of time to descend. [AJ 2007, AAJ 2007]

Hong Sung Taek, Lhotse South Face

Hong Sung Taek and Jorge Egocheaga Rodriguez

Hong Sung Taek, Lhotse South Face

Team at Base Camp

Hong Sung Taek, Lhotse South Face

Proposed Map for this expedition

* Taken from Hong's Website
HJ - Himalayan Journal, AJ - The Alpine Journal, AAJ - American Alpine Journal, JAN - Japan Alpine News
Photo Courtesy: Hong Sung Taek

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