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Suraksan, Daeju Amjang Submitted on November 12th, 2007 by skinsk Print
Type: Rock Climbs Province: Gyeonggi-Do City: Seoul
Park: n/a Rating: 5.8 - 5.13 Style: Trad/sport
Views: 7086 Photos: 5 Photo(s) - Add Photos Maps: 5 Image(s) - Add Images

Granite slab to overhang, mostly face but some crack (including a 5.8 unbolted beauty and an amazing looking second pitch hand crack!) in NE Seoul. There's bulges, seams, roofs, corners-- the gamut of features on the face!

Suraksan Park is easy to overlook with Bukhansan nearby. There's nothing here to compare with Insubong or Seoninbong, but if you're looking to avoid the crowds. . . it's a pleasant park and a good training ground for it's bigger, more famous counterparts nearby. There are several crags in the park, but it's quite spread out-- over two provinces and several cities. Daeju Amjang isn't the easiest crag to find, but there are obvious landmarks.

There's a beautifully rendered metal sign with route information at the base. Kang Jae-seung, a local climber who knew a bit about the rock and lugged his gear in the rain to take me there supplied the following beta: The amazing roof crack is 5.10?! Route 6 is more than 30 meters; route 8, the crux is between the 2-3 bolt; on 9, it's by the 3rd.

To get to Daeju Amjang, take the subway to Suraksan Station and leave exit 1. Walk straight on the main street until you see a sign in Korean pointing right to Yeombulsa (temple) 1000m. You'll follow the sign and head up past park signs until you're just below the temple-- then head left and follow the paved valley trail past numerous restaurants with tables set outside along the scenic trail. You'll cross 3 wooden bridges; just before the last one is the last restaurant and your last chance to fill up on food or drink. The whole approach takes about 2 hours! but most of the trail is chill! When you get to a major rest area, with lots of benches, a covered resting place, and a giant birdhouse, follow the lefthand trail up towards Suraksanjeongsang (1.2km). . . you won't go that far. . . but you'll pass two giant blobs of ??? covered with blue plastic tarps (one on each side) and the last bathroom. It's another 15 minutes or so to an area with lots of signs, including one noting you're in area E1 if you need to call 119 for help. . . head up and right from the E1 sign. . . the trail (at least when leaf-covered) wasn't so obvious, but, at least when the trees are bare, you can see rocks in that direction. Keep heading up and in about 10 minutes you'll see the bolts/anchors and sign on your left.

Safety Concerns
Rockfall and loose rock is a concern, particularly on upper pitches (or if there are climbers on the upper pitches). Some of the "30 meter" routes may be a little longer-- watch the middle and tie a knot in the end of your rope if you do these pitches with a 60 meter rope. There's some runout, and some very difficult slabs that may look easier then they are. Even if they're "slabby faces" and 1-2 pitches, these are serious climbs that will test your limits!

Gear to Bring
Most of the routes are bolted, but sparcely. Most of these have nowhere to place gear, but there are some good cracks including a 5.8 that's unbolted. The recommendation in one set of friends, but a few extras and some small passive pro may come in handy if you're spedning the day here. You'll need two ropes to do all of the routes, and 10 draws are more than enough if you're just clipping bolts. Extra draws and slings if you're planning to place pro. A helmet is a good idea.

Additional Comments
Bring everything you need, it's a haul, but a beautiful hike (even in an intermittant hailstorm!). In nice weather, it gets the sun and can be pleasant, even in late/early season.

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