Sara and I went rock climbing on the weekend like we usually do, with Mr. Lee and Lian (whom I have mentioned before. This crag small but really good. It has a wide range of routes from 5.8 to overhanging 5.12+. My day of climbing was pretty awesome and Sara got some good lead climbs in while I worked on this crimpy 5.11c after onsighting a 5.11a.
The Korean climbing atmosphere is great and generally more friendly than some of the experiences I have had back home in Ontario. Climbing in Southern Ontario is kind of a joke with the “secret crags” and banned climbing areas which are still accessed by people. This is something I do not miss at all. The climbing community is quite social here in Korea. I guess this follows along with the amount of sharing that goes on here.
The grading of any route is subjective, but I have found that the grades here have been much lower in comparison to the difficulty of the route, sometimes a full grade higher. This poses an interesting problem when you think you are warming up on a 5.10b and it is a high 5.11+. There is that and also how difficult slab climbing is here, which I experienced during my multi-pitch adventure at Insubong (coming in the next blog post).
One of my highlights of being in Korea so far has been the climbing, and the people I have met during my outings. Meeting Mr. Lee was a highlight and surely a person I, and no one who meets him will forget. He is in his late sixties and climbs 5.12+. He started climbing in his fifties and absolutely kills it. He is coming back from a broken hand and while everyone is resting, he is doing pull-ups on small crimps (holding onto nothing).
Mr. Lee pushed me to get on this 5.11c that he said is good but will be quite hard for me because I am not very tall. “You have a good ape index” he said. Mr. Lee is a great addition to the climbing community. Not only is he incredibly motivating to watch, he shows everyone around him huge amounts of respect. I hope I can climb again with him soon.