Jaewook Kim (1970 – 2013) loved the thrill of competition and sport climbing


Editor’s note: Sad news came to us from the Korean Alpine Federation about the death of Jaewook Kim, an international sport climbing judge with the UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour.


The Korean climbing community and the UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour lost one of its most passionate voices with the sudden death of Kim Jaewook earlier this month.

“Jaewook was a pioneer in ice climbing and the development of ice climbing competition in Korea,” said Christine Pae, Director of the Korean Alpine Federation and a member of the UIAA Management Committee.

“His death was one of the saddest moments,” said Pae. “He was a friend and my best mountain brother.”

Pae said Jaewook loved the thrill of competition and devoted all his time to climbing competitions, judging them but most importantly taking great pleasure in educating climbers about the rules and generally promoting the sport of ice climbing in Korea.

She pointed to the World Cup stop in Cheongsong, Korea which launches the UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour, and which Jaewook was heavily involved in organizing, as a fine example of collaboration between the UIAA and the Korean Alpine Federation.

Jaewook died on 5 July 2013 after he fell into a coma on 20 June due to a sudden heart attack, and from which he never recovered.

He was 43 years old.

Born on January 20, 1970, Jaewook began his climbing career at Hyowon Alpine Club of Pusan National University.

In 1995, he finished the International Judge training course (a written examination in Seoul, a practical examination in Singapore & Austria) organized by UIAA-ICC (International Climbing Competition). In addition, he translated the International Ice/Sports Climbing Rules and Regulations into Korean. According to this handbook, he then established the Korean version of the Ice/Sports Climbing Rules and Regulations.

In 1998 Jaewook also set up the climbing facility regulations to spread, standardize and ensure safety for climbers.

Jaewook then went on to put considerable energy into various climbing activities and worked as an international judge for the UIAA, became a member of International Commission for Ice Climbing (ICICC) in 2012, was a member of the Climbing Committee of Korean Alpine Federation since 1997. He was also the Chief Judge at the first Youth Sport Climbing Cup in 2006 in Imst, Austria.

In Feb, 2006, he received the Korean Olympic Committee participation prize for his role as a sport judge.

As an international judge, Jaewook played a key role in hosting events in Korea.

Pae said it was his efforts which led to the Korean Alpine Federation organizing the UIAA Ice Climbing World Tour stop in Cheongsong Ice so successfully.

Jaewook’s funeral took place at 8.30 a.m. on 8 July at Gyeongsang National University hospital in his hometown, Jinju Province.

Pae said that Jaewook’s final act was to donate his organs to save other lives.

Jaewook is survived by his wife and two sons.