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KOTR is looking for a new owner. Are you a developer, a climber and have plans to stay in Korea for a while? If so, email me at [email protected]
Yonghwasan Submitted on October 10th, 2006 by skinsk Print
Type: Rock Climbs Province: Gangwon-Do City: Chuncheon
Park: n/a Rating: 5.7 - 5.12 Style: Trad/sport
Views: 9711 Photos: 15 Photo(s) - Add Photos Maps: 1 Image(s) - Add Images

Beautiful and remote setting in Northern Kangwondo. . . not so far from the North Korean border. . .Nice granite; lots of friction but some loose bits and hollow sounding flakes.

Saenam and Jangsu Bawis (the main formations) offer 16 routes up to 5 pitches from 5.7 (easiest P1 is 5.8) to 5.12; also some aid. There's a stellar 11b roof on the right 3 pitches up!! (Almost worth it to come for this; you could easily rap to the start from the hiking trail that goes around to the summit. Wicked exposure and views. Routes to 130 meters.

Routes and pitches are varied from slabs to faces, cracks and roofs of all sizes. Lots of pro and placements; most of the anchors have been updated, but the gear on some routes could date back to the original 1972 ascents. Mostly developed by local clubs (through the 1990s) despite the proximity to Seoul. Not so busy with climbers as hikers.

Close to (6k south) Hwacheon and north of Chuncheon in Central-west Gangwon-do. If you're heading N from Chuncheon or S from Hwacheon on National Road 5, you can turn onto Provincial Road 407 (also known as Yonghwasan Road) which takes you on a scenic tour around the mountain. Signs point the way to the hiking trails. . . which begin at a dead end just after a parking lot with (really bad) rest rooms and a spring where people fill up on water. A trail to the right is just a few minutes out of your way and lets you scope the cliffs. Then head down, past another spring where people stop. Go high for the steep hiking trail up or keep straight (and look up. . . you can see the cliffs and follow trails to the base).

A second crag, Hanvit Byeok, can be accessed from a smaller parking lot just back down the road from the dead-end. Basically a slab with a few cracks, it features routes to 66 meters (a little on the runout side) from 5.7 to 5.10b.

Maps to the crags can be found on the net:

Safety Concerns
Some very old bolts and webbing. . . Routes aren't long but if you only have one rope, best to walk off. Tie knots in your ropes and use a prussik.

Other climbers could be a problem. I had a log dropped on me from climber rapelling from above! I had asked him to stop trying to shake the log free as it was 10m above me, but he vigorously shook the rope until the log came straight on me, not far from the leader, either. . .both of us in plain view and hearing distance. The routes are below a summit trail and hikers kick down pebbles and throw apple cores. Wear a helmet.

Some really dodgy pieces. . . the area has been climbed since 1972; most of the anchors have been replaces, the odd bolt added to a crack. . . thin cracks and scars will take thin pieces to add additional pro to ancient homemade pitons.

Bring shoes to walk off. Sun early with some shady belays.

Gear to Bring
A set of friends, nuts (to micro) and some long slings. Aiders almost necessary for the aid pitches. . .

2 ropes ideal for the easiest descent.

If you just go to Hanvit a sport rack and rope should suffice; some friends #2-4 would enable you to plug the cracks.

Additional Comments
Water at the start of the hike (20 minutes). . . nice staging ground at the main cliff. Belay ledges vary for comfort and scariness. Some of the finest liebacks, weirdest chimneys, coolest roofs and aidiest-aid climbing in these parts.

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