First Disabled Man to Scale 14 Tallest Peaks Lost on Descent

Kim Hong-bin believed to have fallen into crevasse on Broad Peak in China
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2021 12:16 PM CDT
First Disabled Man to Scale 14 Tallest Peaks Lost on Descent
Pakistan Alpine Club secretary Karrar Haidri, left, and the now missing Korean climber Kim Hong-bin pose for a photograph, in Islamabad, Pakistan.   (Pakistan Alpine Club via AP)

In reaching the summit of Broad Peak on the border of Pakistan and China on Sunday, 57-year-old Kim Hong-bin became the first disabled person—and 44th person overall—to climb the world's 14 tallest mountains, reports the Korea Herald. "As I could do it as a disabled person, everyone can overcome the exhausting situation of COVID-19," said the South Korean climber, who had all his fingers amputated after suffering frostbite during a 1991 climb of Denali in Alaska. Then came disaster. Kim was descending the Chinese side of the 26,400-foot Broad Peak, the world's 12th-highest mountain, when he is believed to have fallen into a crevasse on a steep glacier above Camp Three, according to climbing magazine Gripped.

Karrar Haidri, secretary of the Pakistan Alpine Club, says "no information is available about him" since the fall, which occurred in bad weather. However, South Korean President Moon Jae-in says he's "not abandoning hopes" that the climber will be found alive, per the AP. Kim, who participated in the Super-G and slalom Alpine skiing events at the 2002 Paralympic Games in Salt Lake City, sent out a distress call at 9:58am Monday, per the Korea Times. Fellow climbers responded but failed to locate him. A larger search is now in the works, per the BBC. Haidri says helicopters will be used when the weather allows. (More mountain climbing stories.)

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