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Go Back   KOTR Forums > Climbing > Climbing Chat

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]
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  #1  
Unread 08-17-2007, 02:41 AM
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Halmae, Skaha, and Socialism.

I've been thinking...

that Socialism might be likened to a horribly run out slab piece. Maybe there's a half decent anchor station, though you can't see it. You can only imagine the view from the top. I'm having a difficult time in this metaphor to decide if the boulder-strewn deck waiting below would count as rampant capitalism, or worse still, Stalinism. And now since the issue of climbing accessibilty has tangibly entered the picture, Halmae has been on my mind for a while.

My thought on Halmae is that while a proving a difficult sacrifice, climbing there should absolutely be abstained from, lest other amazing crags in korea lose blood likewise on the altar of business. At least until the steam behind this man's business venture runs out. If climbers Korean or otherwise begrudgingly shell out to climb here and that proves enough to turn profit, for how much longer could you expect unfettered access on ANY other privately owned crag in the country? Based on how I've seen business go down in this country, for much less time than you had thought possible. This man's business should not be supported, because if you'll pay for Halmae this season, you'll pay for much more next year.

What I will pay for is an assurance of access not for the whole afternoon, but for generations. Land Conservancy groups facilitate this by mobilizing sources of public revenues to, in effect, purchase land or the development rights to it from the owner, and hold it in trust to the public, well, forever. They are non-profit and volunteer operated. Kinda makes you feel all warm and tingly doesnt it?! Like finally redpointing your project on rock you havent had to buy a season's membership to.

Accessibility is hardly a South Korean issue. Skaha Bluffs lies on privately owned land in British Columbia. It is Canada's OTHER premier sport climbing area. Access has been cut and reinstated, but the only assurance of free-climbing without ever having to snip wire fencing is to pull out your plastic and support a land trust buy-out initiative. I've not climbed at Skaha. I've heard others from KOTR tell me they have, that's part of the reason I post this. I guess I really like the idea of being trusted to responsibly recreate in amazing outdoor spaces. While Halmae lacks the breath-stealing setting of Skaha, it's what we've got, isnt it? Maybe what we had.

http://images.mec.ca/media/Images/Ne...kaha2_web.html

Check it out. If you think it might be worth climbing Skaha, pitch a few. If you're not sure if you'll get around to climbing it but like the whole idea anyways, a bit like me, consider supporting this.

its a funny notion that freedom could be bought, but thats how I'm perceiving my student loans at this point.
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  #2  
Unread 08-17-2007, 03:04 AM
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you lost me in the beginning. . . isn't socialism an aid climb and capitalism is when you're dangling with no pro (private health insurance) and your hold breaks?

I agree with your basic premise and conclusion though . Kinda sad, but good point about how fast businesses can come and go. . . and with no support. . .
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  #3  
Unread 08-17-2007, 11:54 AM
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I was thinking in terms of the slippery slope socialism seems to be. Though from what I've learned recently, Aid climbing comes with its own sketch factors as does Free. I might have taken things into the deep end, but I see climber support of S-Halmae Climbing Fun-Zone World Ltd. as either an inevitable screaming zipper fall from an A4 in the Valley, or a cheese grating slide down slab on Insubong, tumbling towards some new but really shitty corporate climbing reality.
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  #4  
Unread 08-17-2007, 07:51 PM
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dude, i have to think about that one. . . but the cool thing about metaphors is that they are metaphors. . .

anyway, a fun thread; i'd love to hear more ruminations. . . on halmae, socialism, metaphors. . .

BTW, the Land Conservatory seems very much like the Access Fund, the US organization that buys private lands, works with owners, public land managers etc to preserve access to crags in the US (including lobbying) Most climbing related businesses and many individuals support them. I wonder if Korean climbers just depend on the lack of judiciary action (obviously 'insurance' was emphasized at Halmae). . .? I wonder if 'commercial cliffs' have been tried in the West (Waco's permits and guides´is a public lands/legislative compromise). . . for the time being, we better be super supportive of the coffee shop-minbaks in Yongseo!
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Unread 08-17-2007, 08:39 PM
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Goodonya Les! Bloody awesome to see the stinky situation put so damnably well. Whether it's this "-ism" or that "-ism" is a moot point. "Freedom" and "common decency" have no "-ism" at all. Down Under we have a similar access fund, I think it even has a beguilingly esoteric name like "Access Fund" too, but don't be lead on a goose chase up the slippery pole of the garden path by that, it's all about what Les and Sonia both allude to: Paying for Access (freedom to climb). Even in NZ climbing groups have had graet success in maintaining access to private lands (like the incomparable Castle Hill Boulders) by respecting the landholders requests (climbing there is barred during lambing season to avoid scaring the ewes at this tender time - sheep are bloody stupid animals). Regular cliff care days are held for garbage removal, trail maintanence and environmental protection (revegetation of areas etc). So when Sonia suggests frequenting local min-baks, mini-marts, coffee shops etc, she is right on the money. Go a step further and stop by and mangle some Korean to say "hello, thanks, you have a great place" (even if it isn't). Climbers pro-actively fostering a good relationship (friendly and financial) with the locals is one way to keep these parasitic blood-sucking city slicker dead-beats away. I certainly agree, by climbing at Halmae and paying, we are just capitulating for ourselves and generations to come. Phew! What a rant!
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Unread 08-20-2007, 01:15 AM
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Thanks for the prop-ups Jake, and Sonia. The sticky thing is that you really can't expect to be able to tell other adults what to do with complete compliance, ever, but you could always one can urge another to think of the consequences of action. Rather than feeling depressed, negative and cynical about the issue of Halmae, I like to think that this can be a catalyst to bring climbers of all sorts together (much like this website is intended) and to share in the ever-important converation of where we would like to see climbing lead to next season, and 20 years down the road. What cruxes are our actions leading us to, and what can we do together to see that climbing ends up where we, climbers, want to see it. Even a thing as simple as a purchased day-pass to a crag can be an expression of political will.
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Unread 08-20-2007, 10:56 PM
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Hard to fight "the machine" (of capitalism) but the premise of all the organizations we've mentioned is to hold it off or use it for the benefit of keeping climbing areas open (even if it means people only use colored chalk!-- or was that a different thread?) Showing appreciation to owners or the financial viability of keeping an area free and open is imperative.

Remember the old "domino theory" (that the West applied to communism)? I think it applies better here. . . if people, esp non-climbers, think there is money to be made by privatising areas, that's exactly what will happen. Climbers have to unite against it. . . and this is best done by putting forth a good case for compliance.

BTW? Has anyone seen climber out there since the new fees? Do most Korean insurance companies offer climbing insurance? How much is it and what does it cover?!

Of course, we'll all miss Halmae Bawi for the time being, but for my politics I have "given up" many things I thought so special and important and discovered other things! or that I didn't really need the first thing anyway. I'll miss Halmae. . .But Maisan and Sununsan are pretty close by! Lots of great climbs as well as camping and restaurants. . . and your entrance fee goes to support awesome temples and provincial parks
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