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The North Face Climbing Gym (노스페이스, "TNF") Submitted on August 29th, 2011 by griddable Print
Type: Gyms Province: Gyeonggi-Do City: Seoul
Phone: 02-900-4312 URL: Visit Gym's Homepage Address: 418-25 Beon-dong, Gangbuk-gu, Seoul South Korea
Views: 16139 Photos: 14 Photo(s) - Add Photos Maps: 1 Image(s) - Add Images

This is one of the biggest, nicest gyms in Seoul, and one of the few indoor gyms with vertical climbing. Many strong folks train here, including champion competition climbers. The staff and patrons are all quite friendly and happy to climb with newcomers. Mr. Lee, the gym manager, speaks good English, is friendly and helpful with beta and making up problems for people, and is a real beast himself. Several of the Korean patrons also speak good to excellent English, and now a contingency of foreign climbers also frequent TNF

There's a cafe-style chillout room with tables and chairs, a few computers and a TV. Behind that is a small workout room with some weights, machines, treadmills, etc (not a full gym, but better than nothing).

The main room has a bouldering section (which is being expanded, see photos) including a 90 degree bouldering wall for traversing and teaching newbies, a 90 degree lead wall for newbies, and an impressive lead wall that ranges from vertical to very overhanging. Maximum rating I've seen set there is 5.13a (realistically 5.12c or d). There was a kiddie slab wall for top roping which has been absorbed by the new bouldering section (see photos). There is also a granite slab wall made with real granite tiles (great for practicing for the local cheese graters). For further training, there are some system boards and hangboards on the bouldering island, and some more in the small storage room underneath the granite slab wall.

The bouldering setting is standard for Asian gyms, ie a lot of holds that don't move around a lot, with some bouldering problems and a lot of long endurance practice routes taped off; most people make up their own problems. What is set is not bad, and the gymgoers are always happy to share their own problems or make up something new on the spot. The lead wall is well-set with some thoughtful routes.

A day pass is 15,000 won. Pricier than the bouldering basements in Seoul (which average 10,000/day, 70,000/month), but the vertical walls, clean, spacious facilities and convenient location make it worthwhile.

Ropes are available to borrow, along with other equipment. Unclear whether there's actual rental fees (I have borrowed a rope for the lead wall without being charged). The wall is permanently pre-clipped with draws and slings (with quicklinks on the wall-side).

As of the time this was written, there is no membership option short of 6 months, which is quite a commitment. At 500,000 won, this comes out to 83,000/month. This means you need to come on average 5-6 times per month to make it worthwhile.

Did I mention it's air conditioned?

TNF official site: http://www.thenorthfacekorea.co.kr/tnf.do?todo=cultureGuide

Daum Cafe: http://m.cafe.daum.net/dynowall

From Seoul proper (Seoul Station, Dongdaemun, etc) take line #4 (blue) north, towards Danggogae. Get off at Suyu Station (수유역).

Suyu station is serviced by Blue/Trunk Buses 101, 106, 107, 108, 120, 130, 140, 141, 142, 148, 150, 153, 160 and 710, Green/Branch Buses 1165 and 8153, and Inter-Boundary bus 6101.

From exit #1, walk straight, not 50 meters ahead (before the intersection) you will see a sculpture of a mountaineer in a traditional summit pose, holding a Korean flag. The North Face store is on floors 1 and 2, and the climbing gym is on the 4th floor.

Comment added by koreanchick80 on August 29th, 2011
Nice entry sir..

Comment added by griddable on August 29th, 2011
thank you, and thanks for helping me find the gym info and websites!

Comment added by na.wade on September 6th, 2011
There is no day pass? What about trying it out for a session before forking out 500,00? Looks like a really great gym!

Comment added by na.wade on September 7th, 2011
sorry, me being a dumb*ss, just spotted the 15,000 a day price! Great write up and pics. Thanks

Comment added by blacklotus on November 19th, 2011
I went today (a Saturday). After climbing (warming up) for ten minutes there was pain in my finger. No one was there save a handful of Koreans practicing on rope. I've climbed there a few times before, and I've generally been polite and spoken in Korean to the people working there. So I explained about my finger to the guy at the desk and said I thought I should go. He eventually realized I wanted my money back and said no. I went ahead and climbed a little, taking it easy. But how do I feel about the North Face gym after travelling 90 minutes to get there and spending w15,000 for a useless climbing session? I'll happily support Korea's small, family-owned gyms, but to this place, their w15,000 seems more important than making customers happy or maintaining customers. To North Face gym: a great big middle finger.

Comment added by shin2000 on August 14th, 2012
northface gym is ok i went with my wife on a sat. last week it was cool the guy there helped out really well his name is lee chang hyun very nice guy then went on sunday and different guy looks like a ant was a douchebag i say just goto family own gyms

Comment added by shin2000 on August 15th, 2012
the douchebag name is kim bumjun

Comment added by mi.lindner on November 1st, 2015
Went there on a Sunday, unfortunately no equipment rental was possible. So for only bouldering the fee would still be 15000 which seems rather high.

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