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Korea Seoul Hiking Bukhansan Dobongsan

24 March 2015

Rockfall

The last mountain! It was the most technically challenging, with lots of sheer rock faces to ascend with footholds and cables and opportunities to plummet to my death.
In fact, there were some added challenges and warnings today.
First of all, a park ranger at the gate ORDERED me in no uncertain terms to come speak to him when I was reading the map on the signpost.
He warned me that this park is very dangeours, and I should reconsider going to the top, and take the path around the bottom, maybe enjoy the spring water at the temple.
I did explain to him that I have been climbing mountains for weeks now, but he was having none of it, even telling me that hiking trails in Korea are not like hiking trails in America. Thanks for that.
Then a bit later, some guys were yelling at me, one of them was a ranger too. I let them catch up, and from a game of charades, we worked out that there was a rock fall on the main trail and it was blocked or under repair.
This was also confusing to some serious looking Korean hikers, fit looking guys who dont stop for a break every few metres.
An alternate path down was offered by the ranger, I dont want to go down though. I looked at my phone map, along with a couple of Koreans, there is a parallel track up a few hundred metres a way, so I went cross country, no path.
Korean guys followed, and sure enough, we rejoined a path in 15 minutes or so.

Then the real fun began, these were the steepest rock faces so far, and although there was metal cable affixed to poles to pull yourself up, the path seemed genuinely dangerous.
Then I got to a peak, and theres ANOTHER ranger, on a 2-way radio, and he speaks some English. This time hes telling me that I have to go the back way and bypass the peaks. Theres a path called the Y path thats too dangerous.
He was at least giving the same story to others, not just me, however, I took the Y path, and it was awesome. Narrow verticle crevices, and vertical rock faces with foot holes carved into them. There was still a metal cable to pull yourself up with, and occasionally a metal spike to hang onto.
It was very difficult to photograph whilst doing this!

Then I get to the main peaks, and theres another ranger, and hes not letting anyone past. Korean guys were arguing with him, but there were abseilers on the peak, and they seemed to be ensuring it was safe, and on a couple of occasions pushed a boulder off the top, which was exciting. They had a big plank as a lever.
After 15 minutes of watching the discussion, abseilers, and furious 2-way radio communications, we were allowed to pass around the back of the peak, but not allowed up it today.
I am not sure if there was an actual rockfall, despite people telling me that was the cause, or if it was just some preventative maintenance, the abseiling team seemed to be numerous and prepared, so probably preventative maintenance.

Thankfully I didnt have to backtrack, and the path down was also very spectacular, but quite long. Despite 2 full days in the Bukhansan national park, I feel as though I saw only a small part of it, but did ascend the main peaks, well almost!
Guess when I come back I will have to re do Dobongsan and get to the top of the bit I was denied today.

When I decided I was coming to Korea on holidays, I planned to climb lots of mountains, and thats what I did, and I took lots of boring photos, and I am glad that I did, and I dont care if people would rather see photos of Korean girls half naked, cat cafes, theme parks or elaborate desserts.

Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - This would be one of my peaks today, they all have different names, but are collectively called Dobongsan. Easy to access on the subway north of Seoul

This would be one of my peaks today, they all have different names, but are collectively called Dobongsan. Easy to access on the subway north of Seoul, theres a dedicated station just for the park entrance.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - Impressive rock in front of impressive rock.

Impressive rock in front of impressive rock.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - Today also featured a police station in the middle of nowhere. The mountain was nowhere near as busy today, perhaps because I took a non direct route,

Today also featured a police station in the middle of nowhere. The mountain was nowhere near as busy today, perhaps because I took a non direct route, but its also not the weekend.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - Getting closer to rock climbing fun.

Getting closer to rock climbing fun.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - A nice section of rocky path that leads to a remote tiny temple. They have marked the way with paper lanters featuring a baby smiling buddha, which wa

A nice section of rocky path that leads to a remote tiny temple. They have marked the way with paper lanters featuring a baby smiling buddha, which was nice of them.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - The view down was very rewarding.

The view down was very rewarding.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - This is pretty much the entire temple. A lady stuck her head out the sliding door and looked angry, so I moved on. Behind here was where a ranger caug

This is pretty much the entire temple. A lady stuck her head out the sliding door and looked angry, so I moved on. Behind here was where a ranger caught up to me and we played charades.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - Heres a couple of the peaks, I think this was taken near the end of my cross country expedition to find an alternate path up.

Heres a couple of the peaks, I think this was taken near the end of my cross country expedition to find an alternate path up.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - View from peak 1.

View from peak 1.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - More view. It was here that I was advised to go around and not take the notorious Y path, its called the Y path because thats the path you take, down,

More view. It was here that I was advised to go around and not take the notorious Y path, its called the Y path because thats the path you take, down, then steep down, then steep up and up.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - Part of the Y path.

Part of the Y path.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - A bit more view. Not as polluted 2 days ago, but still polluted. Probably should have gone yesterday when it was a lot clearer.

A bit more view. Not as polluted 2 days ago, but still polluted. Probably should have gone yesterday when it was a lot clearer.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - Todays one and only panorama. Probably the last of my trip.

Todays one and only panorama. Probably the last of my trip.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - Using my zoom, I think those peaks in the distance are the ones from 2 days ago, Baegundae.

Using my zoom, I think those peaks in the distance are the ones from 2 days ago, Baegundae.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - Now a few photos of serious rock climbing. It was impossible to photograph the steepest parts.

Now a few photos of serious rock climbing. It was impossible to photograph the steepest parts.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - Here you can see the cable which was a steep downward section.

Here you can see the cable which was a steep downward section.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - And heres a fun way to go up, on the edge of the rock face. Going up seems much safer than going down.

And heres a fun way to go up, on the edge of the rock face. Going up seems much safer than going down.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - I was having a great time. If you zoom you can see the metal cable. I think this is still technically part of the section I was told to avoid.

I was having a great time. If you zoom you can see the metal cable. I think this is still technically part of the section I was told to avoid.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - Best to hang on at all times.

Best to hang on at all times.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - Now I was stopped, and not allowed past at all. There are ways to go to the very top of both of those, and you can see the abseiler on the top of the

Now I was stopped, and not allowed past at all. There are ways to go to the very top of both of those, and you can see the abseiler on the top of the rock on the right.
These are the highest parts of Dobongsan, and I was DENIED.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - Heres the ranger doing his best to convince people its not safe to pass. The argument seemed more amusing rather than angry. I could understand none o

Heres the ranger doing his best to convince people its not safe to pass. The argument seemed more amusing rather than angry. I could understand none of it of course, but I think they were suggesting he was a park ranger on a power trip, do you feel like a big man because you have a badge on your jacket and a radio?


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - We waited whilst the abseilers pushed rocks about, probably for 15 minutes, time for me to have a powerade and some lotus tea biscuits. Eventually we

We waited whilst the abseilers pushed rocks about, probably for 15 minutes, time for me to have a powerade and some lotus tea biscuits.
Eventually we were allowed to pass, and embarrassingly, that was the one time today I slid onto my ass. No doubt putting a smirk on the face of the experienced Korean hikers.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - The excitement was largely over now, but the way I took down was very quiet, some cool things to look at. I didnt really want to get under here though

The excitement was largely over now, but the way I took down was very quiet, some cool things to look at. I didnt really want to get under here though.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - The lower parts had bridges to cross over a stream, multiple times, and numerous small temples.

The lower parts had bridges to cross over a stream, multiple times, and numerous small temples.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - Some temples had large golden buddhas. I always struggle to spell buddha / buddah.

Some temples had large golden buddhas. I always struggle to spell buddha / buddah.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - Once you get to the main temple, its a paved road from there on down, but still quite far.

Once you get to the main temple, its a paved road from there on down, but still quite far.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - I then realised in all the park ranger fueled excitement I had forgotten to do a selfie. So I did one near the bottom.

I then realised in all the park ranger fueled excitement I had forgotten to do a selfie. So I did one near the bottom.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - I am fairly certain as I walked back to the subway that I was looking at the mountain from 2 days ago. But I cant be 100% sure. Might have to come bac

I am fairly certain as I walked back to the subway that I was looking at the mountain from 2 days ago. But I cant be 100% sure.
Might have to come back and make sure.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - If for whatever reason you came without socks, Korea has you covered. Theres probably 50 similar sock selling carts on the road to the park gate.

If for whatever reason you came without socks, Korea has you covered. Theres probably 50 similar sock selling carts on the road to the park gate.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - Korean catwoman has clearly been to see the western boob doctor.

Korean catwoman has clearly been to see the western boob doctor.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - This is the low rent part of the hiking village, nearer the subway. Right by the gate are huge brand name stores, like the north face, columbia, patag

This is the low rent part of the hiking village, nearer the subway. Right by the gate are huge brand name stores, like the north face, columbia, patagonia etc.


Korea-Seoul-Hiking-Bukhansan-Dobongsan - Feather not dot. You can pay to stay in a teepee at Indian Soul, go on a vision quest fueled by the smoke and carbon monoxide from your BBQ stove.

Feather not dot. You can pay to stay in a teepee at Indian Soul, go on a vision quest fueled by the smoke and carbon monoxide from your BBQ stove.


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