Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Odaesan 오대산 - winter hiking.

We were initially planning to do a winter hike at Seoraksan, but due to some extreme snowfalls on the east coast it got shut down for two weeks. I believe a lot of people got stranded up there. As we were hell bent on doing a winter hike Sung Hoon suggested that we visit Odaesan 오대산 instead.

I met up with Sung Hoon and Ian at East Seoul bus terminal (Gangbyeon) on Saturday morning. We set off at 7am. All the buses were packed with day hikers hitting up the east coast.

Soap on a stick at East Seoul bus terminal. Hygiene fail.
When we arrive at Jinbu it was dramatically colder than in Seoul and there was a lot of snow.
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Boobi Boobi!

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These bags of crisps were ready to explode. I'm surprised we didn't lose half the pack to the sky gods on opening.

We had a snack break half way up the mountain. There were a lot of birds scavenging for nuts and snacks. One lone man started feeding them from the palm of his hand. We copied them!

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Then everybody joined in!

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The climb became pretty steep and the steps, packed with snow, became useless. Even with crampons it was difficult to avoid slipping down the slope. The sun was quite bright so at points the snow was pretty slushy.
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The reward.

Dinner time.

There was a queue at the top for photos with the Birobong 비로봉 stone. 1,563 metres up. Needless to say we got in the queue as well. It's a cultural experience. It had to be done!

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Two burks and a birch.

Poses were all the rage. This guy had his on lockdown.

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We missed a trick here. Loads of people brought plastic bags and mini sleds and slid back down the mountain. I've never seen middle aged Korean men look so happy. They were whooping with joy as they zoomed past us, on occasion nearly taking us down with them.

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LOBSTER FACE! A combination of wind chill and sunburn. The joys of descending from Scotsmen.

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More sliding. More envy.

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A frosty fog rolled in.

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We bought some Korean jerky for the ride home. I'm not sure why on earth they were using Ronaldo to advertise it. He's not on the labelling. The supermarket obviously thought it was a great idea. I guess it worked!
Local Pyeongchang 평창 makkoli. Pretty good stuff, even the corn flavoured one on the right...and no aspartame thank god!
Fully prepped for the journey home.