I want to share Eom Hong Gil’s story, a Goseong Native, and the hardworking character of Koreans, leading him to climb Mt. Everest 3 times!
Eom Hong Gil’s Story
Eom Hong Gil was born here in Goseong in South Gyeongnam in 1960. Living along a mountainside in his childhood was a disdainful experience for him at the time, while other kids enjoyed life in the cities.
His attitude towards the mountains changed as he progressed in his youth. He started to see them as opportunities to overcome challenges.
Yet as he took on the Himalayas later in life, he experienced setbacks such as death of those around him, and failed in his first two attempts at Everest.
He even promised not to attempt Everest again.
I saw a picture of some of his toes. They were disfigured from what seemed to be frostbite.
Having lived in Korea for much of the last 3 years, and being married to a Korean, I have become familiar with the work ethic of Koreans, and the value they place on working hard.
Eom Hong Gil’s determination has led him to successfully summit Everest three times, and he is the first person in the world to reach the world’s 16 highest peaks.
An exhibition center dedicated to his life of failures, perseverance, and accomplishments was made for him here in Goseong, near Georyusan Mountain. I couldn’t take any photos inside, but it’s a very cool and immersive experience. There is a really cool room, more like a chamber, made to look like you’re in the Himalayas. It is filled with very real-looking snow and ice all around. The surround sound of howling wind, heavy breathing, and other sounds filled the chamber as a voice narrates excerpts of Eom Hong Gil’s diary. It transports you into a treacherous and deadly place.
They have many pieces of gear he used on his expeditions. They are all so highly specialized, things that no normal human will ever wear in their lifetimes. His first Everest summit was in the 1980s, which is not even that long ago, yet I cannot imagine facing these kinds of challenges without the technology and knowledge we have today. I had never considered how complicated it must be to prepare and pack for expeditions such as these.
It’s also interesting how the exhibit explains the various climbing and survival techniques, for example, how to dig out a snow cave.
I prayed as I climbed up, promising that I would live my life giving back.
I saw photos of Eom Hong Gil with Nepali children. He decided to give back with life that was spared while face-to-face with death. For each of the 16 peaks he climbed for his world record, he has decided to establish 16 schools, especially for those children who find themselves in circumstances out of their control, with no dreams for their future due to lack of education and for the handicapped. Though perhaps less dire, I assume he keeps his own childhood circumstances in mind as he reaches out to them.
Playground and Rope Gym
There is a nice field and playground behind the exhibition hall. Our son Noah loves to come here.
There is a cool netted swing set facing Byeogbangsan Mountain.
The netting gives a sort of climbing feel. Noah tried out the swing.
There are also hammocks!
Korea sometimes places these kind of measuring props in parks. It can be fun (or not) to see the smallest section you can fit your body between.
Then there is the roped tunnel and tent sort of thing which is normally not found in parks or playgrounds that I have seen.
It is a very pleasant place, especially to bring kids.
Landscaped Grounds & Paths
From the side of the field, stone steps lead back to the exhibition hall.
A paved path also runs from the parking lot along the side of the building to the field.
The area is landscaped quite nicely.
Some swinging benches are at the bottom where the parking lot it.
Around the side of the exhibition hall, you can also pick up trails. This is a common starting point for hiking up to Georyusan mountain.
A little gazebo faces a town on the side of the parking lot.
I hope Eom Hong Gil’s story has been inspiring to you as it has been to me.