Members of KOTR linked up with members of Akdong climbing club to give Yongseo Pokpo the lovin' it deserves. We replaced many bolts and anchor chains. We also upgraded the trail to the upper tier, and replaced the fixed rope. Special thanks goes out to Jo Han-ik (조한익) of Akdong for his equipment, his expertise, and for using his one monthly climbing day to teach this newby how to place strong bolts.
First, the technical details:
We constructed all anchors with two stainless steel bolts, equalized with 1 meter of chains, and two steel carabiners. Everything is stainless steel. The bolts are Simpson wedge-it 3/8" x 2-1/2" wedge bolts. The hangers are Mad Rock and Trango. The chains are 8mm. If anything fails on the anchor you have a backup.
We replaced the anchor on Puppy (강아지, 5.8). The old anchor was a cable around a tree that looked alive. On closer inspection, there are two trees, one living, but the one holding the cable is dead. The new anchor eliminates two moves, so people might be angry. However, it reduces rope drag considerably.
We replaced the anchor on Akdong pitch 1 (악동하, 5.10c). The cable was coming unwound, and the bolts were in a block that sounded hollow. We placed the anchor 50 cm higher in great rock above the overhang.
Some people might complain because the anchor is higher and harder to clip. We left one of the old anchor bolts so you can clip it. I have another meter of chain which I will add if enough people complain. Let me know.
We also replaced a bad bolt.
We put a hook on an existing cable at the top of RockLove (바위사랑, 5.11a). Most people use the anchor on Black Pig (멧돼지, 5.10c) to lower, but that route is very popular. If you climb higher you'll see the cable anchor.
We replaced the anchors on Owl p1 (올빼미 하, 5.10b) and fairy (선녀, 5.10b). Owl's anchor was in a water streak, so we moved it to drier and more solid block. Fairy's anchor was severely rusted and the block sounded hollow.
THE GOOD NEWS:
Akdong club hears lots of complaints about the cable anchors because they only use one clamp. In fact, they're not just clamps: the cable is unwound and woven back into itself. That's what they do on cranes and other industrial applications~~here and in America. Jo Han-ik (who helped me) is a steel engineer, and he's pull-tested these anchors. He asked me to set the record straight.
The anchors are death triangles. Akdong knows this, and we used chains this time. I'm not sure what they will use next time, but our best bet is: if we pay the money, they will use it! In the meantime, if a cable has no rust (and most don't), it's probably safe.
All of the bolts we took apart were rusted on the outside. However, once we unscrewed them we found it was only surface rust. No guarantees~~climbing is still dangerous, but Yongseo bolts are probably better than they look. One bolt on akdong broke when Han-ik hammered on it (he replaced it). That bolt was not completely sunk into the rock. If a bolt is not sunk completely it is suspect.
EVERY DAY IS BUDDHA'S BIRTHDAY.
We forged a great relationship with Akdong club this trip. They have tons of experience, dedication, and energy. They want us to keep in touch and take care of Yongseo Pokpo. Pack out your trash--duh. They weren't happy that someone sawed down a living tree last year. That site was used for shamanistic rituals. Let's keep the area as pristine as possible.
Finally, Akdong welcomes our help replacing old bolts. Han-ik was really excited when I first called him. However, they ask everyone not to put bolts in without contacting them. In fact, if you put bolts in any rock in Korea, find the club that put bolts there first and get in touch.
It was great to reach out and fix a problem so many have complained about. Let's keep upgrading the hardware at Yongseo Pokpo and other crags as well.