South Korean Pair Target Two New Khumbu Routes

Ahn Chi-young and Woo Seok-ju of South Korea will be just around the corner from the trekkers and commercial climbers arriving shortly at Everest Base Camp. But their goals are far lonelier. They plan a new route and a first ascent on two 6,000’ers near Gorak Shep.

The South face of Chumbu

The south face of Chumbu. Photo: Ahn Chi-young

Their main goal is the first ascent of Khangri Shar (6,811m). Three earlier attempts on the mountain have failed — a Japanese team in 2003, the British in 2004, and the Swedes in 2018.
They will also try a new route on the southwest face of Chumbu (6,859m). Zdenek Hak, Petr Kejklicek, and Radoslav Groh of the Czech Republic made the first ascent of the peak in 2022. ExplorersWeb deemed their climb one of the best expeditions of the year.


Ahn and Woo will have only a cook with them. Instead of a Base Camp, they will stay at a lodge in Gorak Shep when not in the mountains. The pair called their expedition I-um, Korean for “connection.” They consider their climb to be part of a larger idea to connect remote mountains to humans, climbers to climbers, and mountaineering experiences to everyday lives, Korean journalist Oh Young Hoon told ExplorersWeb.
The korean climbers at a restaurant in Kathmandu.

Left to right,: Woo Seok-ju and Ahn Chi-young in Kathmandu earlier this week. Photo: Ahn Chi-young

Strong backgrounds

The climber smiles from inside a mess tent.

Ahn Chi-young. Photo: Ahn Chi-young

Ahn Chi-young has an impressive climbing resumé, including the first ascents of Nepal’s Himjung (7,140m) and Amphu 1 (6,840m), and Pakistan’s Gasherbrum V (7,147m). He has also done new routes on Lobuche West (6,145m) in Nepal, and India’s Dharamsura (6,446m) and Papsura (6,541m). He was twice awarded the Piolet d’Or Asia.
Woo’s climbing mainly focuses on big walls in Yosemite, the Sierra Nevada, and Patagonia. But he has also put in time in the Alps, Kyrgyzstan, and Scotland, and has climbed Everest and Lhotse.
Woo Seok-ju of South Korea.

Woo Seok-ju on rock. Photo: Woo Seok-ju

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.