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Yongseo Pokpo Submitted on October 4th, 2005 by skinsk Print
Type: Rock Climbs Province: Jeollanam-Do City: Gurye
Park: n/a Rating: 5.8 - 5.12 Style: Sport
Views: 26023 Photos: 60 Photo(s) - Add Photos Maps: 14 Image(s) - Add Images

One of the most beautiful and quiet places I have been in Korea. Very little traffic (local?) and very off the beaten path! You stand in an ampitheatre around a very high falls (50m?), surrounded by steep bluffs on 3 sides. The rock is multicolored, the landscape lush. Slab (slight), vertical, roofs, overhangs, faces, (bolted) cracks. . . you'll bust out all your moves here! 7-26 meters (though there are multipitch climbs that will get you higher, and if you aspire to do them 2 ropes might be nice for a quick rappel). Bolts seemed solid, though a few had some rust. Good holds for clipping and the bolts tended to be placed on solid rock, rather than in the most linear fashion.

Many improvements have been made to this area by KOTR and the local climbers working together! The dodgiest bolts and anchors here have been replaced, making it a truly brilliant (and much safer) place to climb!

There are over 70 routes! Most have names and grades beneath them!

Driving--just after kilometer marker 27 for Suncheon (7.5 kilometers south of the intersection with Road 18), a small exit right points out Yongseo Village (in Korean only: 용서마을) . Exit here, going left (east) through a tunnel then left, then under a bridge and left, over a bridge to Yongseo Village. Stay straight on the narrow road (with a steep drop-off right), crossing a small cement bridge on the right to the orange clay Coffeeshop and Garden. It's about 1.2 kilometers from the turnoff on 17 to the parking lot.`

From GuyreGu Station: exit and turn right down the main street in front of the station. Head down this highway, go under the tracks (stairs lead down a tunnel), and continue until you come to a Y. Take the left road (which is the wrong way on an off ramp) under the highway, and halfway up the ramp you'll veer to the left on a side road. The next intersection there will be a sign that says: 카피숍 (coffee shop; I think this is how they spell it) next to a gray post that says 용서마을 (yongseo maeul). Head down this road towards a little village, cross the river and continue up the small road. You'll see an orange stucco "mushroom" building-- the coffee shop/restaurant. The trail to the waterfall/climbing begins here. Hike up the left side of the coffee house, past the minbaks, cross the stream on the concrete blocks and head up the trail about 5 minutes.

It's actually visible from the road, if you look at the photo. The big sign outside Gurye-gu station includes the falls, though it's not obvious from the very blank map how to get there. Taxi drivers at the station know the place, though these days they often stop below the coffee-shop, adding another 5 minute trek through the village to your adventure.
GPS of the restaurant: 127 28' 00.08" E, 35 08' 58.62"

Safety Concerns
If you have a 50m rope, be aware some climbs are over 25m. There's some dirt and debris as well as insects and amphibians on the routes. As this is a waterfall and in the shade, the routes can ooze water and become very slippery. Vegetation abounds in hot wet weather, and some cracks were nearly useless because of this. Some slippery holds after rain, and many routes can stay slipery and wet a few days.

There are poisonous snakes here. I know of at least two cases (one foreigner) where people have been bitten and required a doctor's care. I've seen about 15 snakes here over the years (especially on the top left climbs) and kept my distance! Those brown guys-- they're the ones. (In nine years I've seen about 25 snakes in Korea, so Yongseo has a substantial percentage!)

I've heard several accounts of rockfall under the main (left) wall that send rocks through tents, with fortunately no damage to people (only tents!) It is not a good idea to camp just under the walls, and it might be a good idea to wear a helmet when you are standing or belaying there!

The pools under the falls seem cool and refreshing and might be tempting. . . but my partner noticed long, stringlike roundworms in the water!! He pulled one out (and left it in the sun, wriggling) and when we checked in a few hours it had found it's way back to the water. It was very creepy to see this type of parasite without a host, but I am sure they are looking for hosts. Even with a filter, I would avoid this water at all costs. There's an ill-placed, but oft used bathroom down a ways, and the tap near some of the screened picnic shelters comes from this water. Bring what you need, or patronize the coffee shop/restaurant and fill at their water purifier! We considered a helmet might have been a good idea, as some routes have pebbles/loose holds on them. Watch out for kamikaze (BIG!) toads.

Gear to Bring
Small to medium pieces might provide comfort on some routes, but you'll definitely want to bring plenty of draws (15 or so) as some of the climbs are very well bolted! A 60m rope (2 recommended for multipitches). Slings are good to have for anchors, overhangs, rope drag, etc, as the bolts aren't always placed in a neat line.

Additional Comments
There's a one-family business: the coffee shop restaurant, with small rooms for rent (W10,000 per person for the small room; 2-4 people) and some screened in picnic/dining areas along the creek. The restaurant is a bit upscale, but very atmospheric, and they were able to put together a vegetarian option that was both delicious and reasonable. The specialty is free range chickens (the ones you see and hear across the path) prepared very fresh with home grown herbs and veggies. It's a good idea to patronize them in some way, even if you camp. The owners have been VERY welcoming of foreign climbers-- in large part becasue we do patronize them (and as noted in dangers, the restaurant is your best/only bet for obtaining safe water!)

There are many level tent spaces around the waterfall, and if the weather is great, it's a lovely place to stay, though the bugs and critters make bivying in the open a less attractive option.

Despite the growing popularity among climbers, the lack of noise, souvenir stands, etc, the place has a really "out of the way" feel. It's a good walk to the nearest store/restaurant (besides the on-location place) and these also have limited options.

The orange stucco building is the Yongseo Waterfall Coffee Shop and Garden (용서폭포 커피숍 & 가든) run by Mr. Im Jae Geun (임재근) and family at 061)755-4765/3815 HP 010-7753-9919 (no English)

Comment added by skinsk on October 5th, 2005
When you come up the trail, there's a small trail up and left (follow the ropes)that leads to a few more climbs, mostly in the 5.10 range.

Left of the falls,past the pools, there are quite a few climbs in the "side chamber" in the 5.8 to easy 10 range (unmarked). Facing away from the falls, the climb on your right up the pillar (which holds a lot of water)is 5.8 or 5.9;
across from this, the corner is 5.8 or 9, and the thin face r of this is maybe 5.9 or 10a. PM me if you plan to go and need more route info.

Comment added by ricardo on October 6th, 2005
this is a beautiful place and well worth the trip! and a solitude i never thought i'd find here .
PM me for a rough draft map to the area (i'll post the final copy when it's finished)

Comment added by ricardo on October 14th, 2005
ok, map is posted. sorry, no reliable road numbers from my data and i don't have a hard copy for reference. i'll have to replace the map when confirmed.

Comment added by nate45 on August 10th, 2009
Video during the rainy season. The waterfall is great.


Comment added by dusty on September 4th, 2009
we just completed a 3 day trip up there during this past week. it was our first time and we were driving our car. by chance, we found a driving shortcut from the directions that are posted above. i will also post pictures to help.

driving directions:
- driving south from daejeon, you continue along Interstate 35 until you hit Hwy 12, going towards Namwon.
- take this until you hit Hwy 19, heading south towards Gurye.
- on the outskirts of Gurye, there is an exit that conjuncts with Hwy 17 & 18. this is a land marker.
- take the next exit after this, about 5-7km. there are a few houses on your right.
- after the off ramp, turn left through an underpass going under the highway.
- there is a green sign with red letters that says (in korean) kopi shop (coffee shop), and an arrow pointing left. follow this until you see the grey sign for yongseo pokpo mentioned in the original directions. also, please see pictures for help.

Comment added by Jetton on November 14th, 2009
Just FYI for everyone, from Guryegu Station you can grab a taxi and just tell them Yongseo Pokpo and they will drop you off right at the Orange Stucco Mushroom restaraunt/coffee shop.

Comment added by OOBMAN on April 11th, 2011
For those coming from south to Yongseo Pokpo the easy directions are: Take route 35 to route 10/25 follow signs to Yeosu and Guyre get on route 17. Once on 17 it is aprox. 15-17 km to the turn. The right hand exit comes just after a lone GS gas station AND under a big LED light that hangs above the road. As you take the turn there is another immediate right that goes down and runs under a tunnel, follow little road that run all the way up to the coffee shop.

Comment added by skinsk on September 4th, 2011
anyone have good directions from the new highway (27?) I always go as Dusty described (sorry but the roads have changed wildly these last few years!)

Comment added by nicco33 on September 6th, 2011
From Hwy 27: Exit at the Hwangjeon IC. Turn right when you reach Hwy 17 (at your first set of traffic lights.) Stick to the right and take the first off ramp to Yonseo Maeul (drive under the highway and the railroad tracks and over the bridge into town). As simple as that.

Comment added by nicco33 on September 6th, 2011
For anyone travelling to Yongseo with a big group of people, there's now a taxi service that has 9-person and 15-person vans and buses. The company's name is Dae Jin Un Su (대진운수) and they can be reached at 061.741.4000 or 010.3185.2525.

Comment added by milkitnubbs on November 27th, 2011
Traveling from near Iksan? there is a Train that runs straight to Guryegu Station from Iksan KoRail. Guryegu Station is less than 5 minutes away from the Coffee shop.

Also, on your way up toward the climbing face there is a great path that begins just to the left of the last building, you will see several square stones that you can walk across to get to the other side of the stream.

I also found a few bolts that were loose on some of the routes. I had no replacements w/ me.

Comment added by alpingoat on May 6th, 2018
Climbed here in May 2018. Really nice setting. Big climbs with a small approach. I highly recommend checking this place out.

This place seems to see a fair amount of traffic. Most of the hardware is modernized and in good condition, but we did encounter a rusty clamped wire rope wrapped around a single tree as an anchor on one 10a route. I saw Koreans top roping off of it, but we chose not to hang a top rope there after leading it. Generally, it seemed closer to the waterfall you go, the worse the condition of the hardware for obvious reasons. The route grading seemed a little stiff, but maybe that's just me.

Approach beta:
- Parking: 35.149065, 127.464212 (전남 순천시 황전면 금평리 502)

- Turn toward trailhead: 35.149275, 127.466246 (go straight through this cluster of buildings and you'll see the stream with concrete blocks mentioned in the original post. Once you're at the concrete blocks, just keep following the trail a few minutes and you can't miss it.

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