Thursday, October 27, 2016

Hike Up Mount Hallasan.

Hey readers - a couple mornings ago I decided to hike up Mount Hallasan . It had been on my "to do's list" ever since I came here to Jeju-do in mid-May .


It's actually the highest peak in South Korea , standing at 1950 m or 6400 ft AMSL . In fact , North Korea has a higher peak , called Paektu Mountain , standing at 2744 m or 9003 ft AMSL .

Hallasan really stands out in Jeju-do . It's basically the center of the island and everything else revolves around it . It's considered to be a shield volcano and is believed to have had it's last major eruption ~5000 years ago , which puts it's still in an "active" classification .


Now that I have some time to myself and the energy to spend elsewhere , I waited for a clear morning and rode my scooter up to the entrance of the Seongpanak national park , where I would start the ~18 KM round trip hike just after 8 AM .

There are several routes up the mountain , but not all of them go to the very peak .


It's important to start before 12h30 or you will not be allowed to start .


 For the better part , especially the start of the trail , it looked like this .


This was the 2nd of two shelters where you can stop , hang out and go to the bathroom .


More cut off times .


The higher the trail goes , the steeper and rockier it got .

*This is not my picture*
A view of the file my Garmin recorded - I reached my goal of going "sub 4" for the round trip . But it looks like some lapses in recording occurred , possibly due to the thick overhead canopy .


It did get pretty crowded in some sections.  Particularly when there were groups of tourist , most of which were locals . I could not help but find it strange , that so many hiked clutching their mobile phones . At least put in your pocket , for better balance and greater forward motion . Then just take it out for pictures .

*Not my picture*
In hindsight , I should have started earlier , to avoid the crowds as I overtook a few 100 people on the narrow trails .


By the cusp of the cone - the sun was nice and strong , with a bit of wind that made it chilly since I had a good sweat going .



                                                        Some editing work done here .



A panoramic shot .


White and fluffy clouds .


 Taking a moment to enjoy the fresh air .


A view of Jeju City - it was too cloudy on the other side to get a good shot of Seoqwipo .


Another panoramic shot but from the other side .


 A candid shot my GoPro snapped while on auto-pic .


It was indeed a challenging climb , more energy consuming, longer and significantly more technical than The Great Wall Of China last week . But fairly feasible as compared to my climb up Mount Kilimanjaro in 2007 .

The way back down was a little more strenuous than going back up . It required more focus and agility . It was a combination of the up flow of people who I had overtaken on the way up and having to choose my footing more carefully . The rocky sections seemed to be a little more wet/slippery than going up .

In the end , I ran a little for the last half hour, as the path was clear , the terrain was suitable and I was keen to finish it off under 4 hours .

I rewarded myself with a bottle of Coca-Cola at the bottom , and the next morning , I woke up knowing it was a good idea , not to do this hike while in training mode , because my achilles , arch , and calves , were really sore/stiff - which will be the case for a few more days .