Yongseo Pokpo Safety check
Jo Han-ik of Akdong and I spent this past weekend checking anchors and replacing some at Yongseo Pokpo. He're's what we did:
We replaced the first bolt on Peter Pan (피터펜, 5.10c). This bolt had broken off.
We placed a new anchor on **** Pheasant (장꽁, 5.10c). You can also use this anchor to lower off "My love stump" (내사랑 그루터기, 5.12a). (not sure I translated that name correctly?) These anchors were 1 meter apart, so we combined them. We removed the two anchors and tried to camouflage the old bolt holes with glue and dirt.
We replaced the cable on Heungbu (흥부, 5.8) with chains. These were coming unwound.
In what may turn into a controversial decision, we removed the anchor on the top of the 3rd pitch of Yosemite (요세미티, 5.12a, but I think 11c). This route is one of the best I've ever climbed: it goes just right of the waterfall through classic, airy terrain to a beautiful, exposed ledge, from which you rappel. Unfortunately, this rappel anchor was an accident waiting to happen. The 3 bolts were placed in a thin, loose block. We worried that rappelling off this anchor could pull the block loose, sending the climber 50 meters through space with a big rock attached. We decided no matter what we had to remove the anchor.
We tried to find another place to place an anchor, but all of the blocks seemed too loose. I don't think they pose a threat to climbing, but with the force of rappelling they could pull loose. We were sad we couldn't find a place for an anchor, since the ledge is so airy and stunning. In the end, we couldn't find an anchor we thought was safe enough.
To get down, you have two options. You can top out (a #3 cam might be nice), belay from a tree, and walk down. Or, you can stop at a lower anchor and rappel. This isn't the original anchor, and it's in an awkward position on the climb, but it is placed in very sound rock.
Yosemite is one of Yongseo's ultra-classic climbs, so we hope we've made the right decision. I think we put safety first, even if you can't belay from the classic ledge at the top of the waterfall. I hope people understand that. The good news is that the bolts on the route are good, being shiny stainless steel. With beautiful moves, sky below your heels, and the waterfall right there, I challenge you to find a better climbing route in the world.
Well, there you have it. That leaves about 984 bolts to go. Turn off your computer and go climbing!