Conquering Everest is a crowning glory for local climber

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 June, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 June, 2003, 12:00am

The first Hong Kong mountaineer to scale the highest peaks on all seven continents yesterday gave an account of how he conquered Mount Everest to complete the feat.

Chung Kin-man, 49, said a combination of fine team spirit, good weather and luck allowed him to scale the north face of the 8,848-metre mountain on May 31.

'I caught the flu and had difficulty breathing but managed to make it to the top,' said Mr Chung.

He urged his fellow Hong Kong residents to always set their sights high and never give up.

It took Mr Chung almost six gruelling days to reach the summit, just two days after the 50th anniversary of the first ascent, by Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary.

His wife said he called her immediately after making his descent.

'For the past 11 years he has wanted to conquer Everest. His happiness is beyond words. Only a climber will understand the joy he is feeling now.'

Mrs Chung said their two daughters were waiting for their father to come home.

During an expedition in May 1992, Mr Chung's climbing partner, Cham Yick-kai, became the first Hong Kong Chinese to stand on top of Mount Everest. Mr Chung reached 7,000 metres at the time but a gathering storm prevented him from reaching the top.

Mrs Chung said: 'What matters to him now is that he made it to the top of Everest and climbed the highest peaks of the seven continents before his 50th birthday.'

Staff at Mr Chung's mountain equipment shop said they were full of admiration for their boss. 'I am so proud of him. He is so strong,' said Johnson Chong.

Mr Chung last made headlines in 2001 when he placed Hong Kong's flag at the highest point in the Arctic after a seven-day climb.

In December 1997, he climbed 5,140 metres to the summit of Mount Vinson - the highest point in Antarctica.