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Asian climbers at the Everest forefront this season
16:52 p.m. EDT May 21, 2003
The latest reports from the Chinese news agency Xinhua have 18 Everest summits today - more than half of them were by climbers of Asian descent. Three of them were South Koreans who have now climbed Everest from both the North and South Sides. For one of them, Um Hong-Gil, this was his third time on the summit. He had intended to do a traverse climbing up from the North Side and descending down the South Side into Nepal, however, it is not known which side he went down. Um Hong-Gil was also the 9th person ever to summit all 14, 8000m peaks. His fellow countryman, South Korean Park Young-Seok was the 8th.

In total 25 climbers have summited Everest this year more than 18 of which were Asian. Earlier this season, 4 Asian climbers summited Makalu 3 of them making their 11th 8000m summit, and the other his 10th.

The news agency Xinhua also reported that one of the summits today was by a woman. She became the 76th female to summit Everest. Less than 10% of all Everest summiters have been women. The first female to ever do so was Junko Tabei, (Japanese), in 1975. She is expected to arrive in Kathmandu shortly. Only four women have summited Everest two times. Two of them, Cathy O'Dowd and Sherpani Lapka are both trying for third summit this year.

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