Province Name: Jeollanam-Do
City Name: Naju
Type of Area: Rock Climbs
Granite slabs, faces and overhangs. There are 29 listed routes of up to 3 pitches, some with slight variations. There are no grades listed, but range from easy decently bolted slabs to overhanging cracks and aid. Fixed pro is a mixed bag. . . shiny new bolts, rusty old bolts, old pitons, fixed cams, slings. . . many cracks require and others take gear of pretty much all sizes! Many routes have beefy eye-bolts cemented in at the belay/rap stations.
The climbing is on Maebong (매봉), Sirubong (시루봉), Sajabong (사자봉), Yeonshilbong(연실봉), Hyeongjebong (형제봉). Maebong and Sajabong are visible from the entrance (left), with Sirubong behind on the main ridge.
For information on the national park, including transportation, check out the homepage. http://www.npa.or.kr/wolchul/eng/traffic/traffic.htm
To get to Maebong, start at the highest parking lot near Cheonhwangsa. Where the trail splits off (a few meters up), do not cross the wooden bridge to Baram falls, but head the other way, past a small old building and up. You'll pass a sign for an ancient temple site (a few minute detour, if you're interested) and continue up the trail about 25 minutes. See photo of Rick for the turnoff, right, just before you begin to see the bolted slabs. -- there is a small sign on a tree. If you come to a huge rock jutting out as an overhang above the trail, you've gone too far. Continue up the trail to get to Sirubong and Sajabong. You'll see the routes on the main wall to your left as you begin the ascent towards the bridge.
There are extensive signs around the climbing areas warning groups to be prepared for weather and to know what they are doing, how to read routes and use their gear before doing any technical climbing here. No pets are allowed at the crags, and people are asked not to litter, smoke, etc. Be considerate of other groups, obey closure signs, do not carve on the rocks. . . They also request that rock-climbers register with the park. the national Park office is near the entrance; there is also an office behind the climbing stadium that might be able to do this when it is open?
Most of the gear, even fixed pins seemed solid. Old webbing and cord left on some of the bolts and aid routes was very suspect-- worn through the outer sheath and very frayed. Consider bringing replacements and a bailer.
The cracks can be a little dirty, making placements more difficult. Also, the cracks and some faces can be wet and manky. If you are not used to Korean slabs, some of the routes may seem a little runout, especially if you have no gear.
No loose rocks encountered, but always a possibility, and helmet seemed a popular accessory.
Gear to Bring
Bring everything you have Two 60 meter ropes will allow an easier rap from the multipitches, and draws supplemented by slings are the minimum. Many cracks are shallow, but most routes have at least a few points where you can get a very important psychological boost from a cam or nut!
At the entrance of the park are the usual restaurants, minbaks, etc. Just outside the park, on the road to the Rock Climbing Stadium, is a cchimchilbang.
N(E) facing, Maebong and Sirubong get morning sun (but the high peaks quickly end that) and would be good in the warmer months in the afternoon, or the off months early morning. Some wind!
The climbing is spread out, so while there were other climbers, we didn't encounter them during the day (weekend/off-season).