8 OUT OF 10 SOUTH KOREANS claim to be avid hikers. The government maintains the trails and facilities at most major trail heads and many peaks and popular multi-day treks have permanent shelters. The trails are accessible and used all year round, even in the snowy Korean winter. There is no excuse not to get on a mountain, and you will have plenty of good company.
Climbing is so well-respected in South Korea that, on occasion climbers, only need show their gear to enter the park for free. In the north Seoraksan’s granite ridges and faces are a playground of sport and trad routes for climbers. Ulsanbawi has about 20 routes of trad up to 5.11, sport up to 5.10 and aid climbing up to A2. On Ulsanbawi routes the climber will encounter a variety of features including slabs, chimneys, cracks, and overhangs.
As the fall months fade to winter, South Korean climbers trade their slipper-like rock shoes for hulking alpine boots, crampons, and sharp ice tools. South Korean winter temperatures are consistently -15 degrees Celsius or lower, freezing waterfalls and forming thick pillars and walls of ice that make fine ice climbing routes.