Sunday, April 5, 2009

Korean climbing

Throughout college, I have had a number of friends that I was able to climb with. We took many trips into Arkansas to camp, hike, and climb. Coming to Korea I wasn't expecting to be able to continue this sport like I have been. A friend and fellow teacher at ECC, Zach, has been very motivational in getting me out and grabbing some rock again. There are some beautiful spots overlooking the area.My first time out, Zach took me to a mountain on the southern part of the Island down by Gujora beach. We took a taxi and were able to make it there in a round about way. Zach's Korean language skills have about 10 months more experience than mine so he was very good at chit-chatting with the driver. A short hike upon arrival took us to a beautiful rock outcropping.

There were a number of bolted routes to choose from. We chose a "five-nine" named "Mong Tor"
Zach led the route to the first pitch and then belayed me up to the first anchor. We switched and I led the second pitch to the top of our 200 foot route.
Spectacular view. It is really fun to climb with someone as easy going as Zach.
Our first trip was a riot. Transportation for the return trip was not arranged so we had to leave plenty of time to get back to school. Bets were placed on how many cars would pass before we were picked up. Koreans are very good about picking up hitch hikers. We didn't look too threatening. Car 5 stopped and we were able to get a ride to the nearest bus stop. Its always an adventure.
The second time out we left the island the took an intercity bus to Tongyeong. Then took a taxi to the base of the mountain.

The climb was a bit more difficult this time. We chose a 5.10a "five-ten A" slab that looked pretty cool and gave it a shot. For those of you who are not familiar with the rating system routes are rated based on their most difficult portion, the crux. The American system scores routes with grades such as 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4...... and continues to 5.15 I believe. All ratings below 5.10 can have a (+) or a (-) and those above 5.10 have four gradations each given an a, b, c, or d. This climb was a was a beautiful slab with lots of tiny nubs and two fingered pockets.
The top of this route also yielded a fantastic view with rice fields and islands in the distance. Perched at the top of the 220 foot route, Zach pauses to meditate in his yoga spot. "Gnarly man!"
Someone had lots of patience and possibly some extra time on their hands. There were four beautifully built cairns at the base of the climbing site.

Hopefully you'll never catch me passing up an adventure in the outdoors. Gotta love em.


Andrew Thomas said...

yes! glad to see you're hitting up some sweet korean rock!

melcrane said...

Hey, I'm jealous of your adventures (but the "mom" side of me says, "WHAT! Are you crazy?!") Just be careful out there, jesse!

p.s. Where's Chelsie??
love you guys,
Aunt Melanie and Uncle Richard

Jeff said...

Hey, this post is just like an issue of Rock & Ice! That photo of the islands through the trees is exquisite. I just made it the background on my desktop. It replaces a picture of my younger granddaughter smiling on her first day of preschool, so I'm not sure how long I can go without that, but I'll enjoy the view for a while.

Amber said...

Wow!!! I'm so jealous, right now I'm wondering just how long I can bear to stay in the States... Man, you guys are so lucky! I can't wait until it's my turn to leave and go travel!!! Jess, your pictures are amazing, as always:) I miss you and love you so much Chels!

Hwang Min Hyun said...

Hi I'm Oriental Medical doctor in JL school.
I was glad to see and talk to you.
I hope your couple enjoy to live and travel in korea.

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