In 2000, he finally climbed K2 (8,611m), which means his team completed the whole mission to go up 14 peaks higher than 8,000 meters in altitude within 12 years. He tried to climb Mount Everest in September, 2005 but failed. He tried again 3 years later and his attempt was successful. He also carried out a mission on Kangchenjunga.
Um Hong-gil has reached the summit of all 14 eight-thousand meters peaks in the world. In fact he is the first person in climbing the 16 highest points on Earth.
He was awarded the Himalayan Crown when he completed the 14 highest peaks in 2001. He is the first South Korean and the eleventh climber in the world to hold this distinction.
He led successful expeditions up Everest in 2002 and 2003. He has climbed both the North and South Sides of the Everest. Um Hong-gil has stood on top of Everest three times.
The film 히말라야/The Himalayas was released on December 16, 2015. It was directed by Lee Seok-hoon and starred Hwang Jung-min in the role of Um. The film is based on Um's real life, primarily focusing on his mentorship of two other climbers who later died during an ascent. The film beat the box office battle with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, released the same weekend in South Korea.
Um Hong-gil invested his time with The Beautiful Foundation in his native South Korea. He helped start the program "Gil Sarang Fund" (Loving the Road) in order to support cultural activities for handicapped people.
- List of climbers, alpinists and mountaineers
- List of Mount Everest summiters by number of times to the summit
- "He finally climbed on K2" Kookmin Ilbo(daily) 2000-07-31
- Mt. Everest 2005: Koreans return to bring back the dead bodies of the three lost Korean climbers from 2004
- Mr. Um Hong Gil has bagged his 15th 8000 meter peak. EverestHistory.com.
- EverestHistory.com article on Um Hong-gil.
- Reaching to highest point of antarctica, Vinson Massif Yonhap News.
- The Beautiful foundation beautifulfund.org 2005. Retrieved 21 January 2011.