Khoo Swee-Chiow, 1st singaporean on the K2 !
“ I am in Islamabad resting a few days, flying home tomorrow.
I am happy to inform you that I reached the summit on 31 July 10.20am local time. It was an amazing climb and definitely the ultimate mountain.
And, the gears Adeline gave me worked really well. I like them. Thank you very much!”
by Leslie Kay Lim
K2 feat for Khoo
Adventurer Khoo Swee Chiow has become the first Singaporean and South-east Asian to climb K2, seen by many as the most dangerous peak in the world.
Mr Khoo, who accomplished this feat last week, described his latest adventure as the “hardest climb of my life”.
Others from Asia who have scaled K2 include climbers from Japan, South Korea and Chine.
Singaporeans Robert Koh and Edwin Siew made an attempt in 2008, but turned around after narrowly escaping an incident in which 11 climbers died.
Adventurer Khoo conquers treacherous K2
HE HAS climbed Everest, three times since 1998 and stood atop the highest mountains on seven continents.
But for mountaineer Khoo Swee Chiow, the ultimate challenge was scaling K2, regarded by many as the world’s most dangerous peak. Last week, he completed what he described as the “hardest climb of my life”, becoming the first Singaporean and South-east Asian to do so.
Although the 8,611 m peak is 237m lower than Everest, the mixed ground of rock, ice and snow, combined with the steeper incline and fickle weather, render it more daunting.
The 48-year-old father of two began the journey in late June, flying into Islamabad and driving to the village of Askole before reaching the base camp on July, 6th.
He was one of 11 in an international open expedition sponsored by hard-drive firm Seagate.
The group started climbing three days later, and were acclimatising in good weather with blue sunny skies, and temperatures between 0 deg C and 10 deg C. But the wind began lashing and snow began to fall from July 14th.
“We started to have doubts”, said Mr. Khoo in a phone interview with the Straits Times yesterday.
Eventually, a pocket of good weather was forecasted for July 31st, and August 1st, and they decided to take the window of opportunity. After 2 grueling days of climbing, Mr Khoo reached the summit in the early hours of July 31st. Although he could spent only 20 minutes resting at the top, “it was a magical moment”, he said.
He made his way back down the mountain- descent being the most dangerous part – and arrived safely back in the base camp late into the night on August 1st.
His family members, who were in contact with him on his satellite phone, were understandably relieved, he noted.
The climb was not without difficulties. Besides the changing weather, four expedition members were involved in an accident during descent, when one member slipped and fell along with three others roped together.
“We thought we had lost them”, said Mr Khoo of the four, who were luckily saved by a crevice.
Close to the summit, at the area known as the bottleneck and traverse, he was also reminded of a tragedy in 2008 which claimed 11 lives. “I was very aware of where I was”, he said.
The K2 conqueror is expected to be back in Singapore on August, 14th.
Mr Edwin Siew, a climber who narrowly escaped harm during the 2008 incident, applauded Mr Khoo’s successful attempt at climbing the “mountaineer’s mountain” as raising the bar for the sport locally.