Climbing Insubong! Quite the first multipitch adventure. I met Lian and some other Korean climbers in our party at the bottom of Insubong where we started our hour long hike up most of the mountain. The hike was absoulutey stunning with the leaves all changing color and the perfectly smog free day overlooking Seoul.
We passed a lot of the popular boulders that riddle the base of Insubong, with Lian pointing out his favorites and some others that popular rock climbers (Chris Sharma) have climbed on in the past. The hike was great, and would have made my day, but Insubong was waiting right in front of me. Hundreds of feet of granite slab and some sport climbs with a great view!
Lian lead two pitches of an easier 5.10+ crack the traversed to the left slightly for roughly 100 feet. Although I was seconding it I still enjoyed on-sighting some difficult 5.10+ slab made me pretty pleased with myself. It was by no means easy, especially since the only true slab climbing I have done has been during my short time in Korea. Hand and fist jamming my way up the climb was incredibly rewarding knowing that very few foreigners have actually experienced Korea this way.
We came down, ate some lunch and kept warm in the immense shade from the trees and Baegundae Peak right beside us. I was pretty pleased with what we had done but Lian had more planned for the day.
The next route we started was pretty low angle slab climbing at the beginning, followed by 5.12b slab climbing on a route called “Villa”, which is aparently a very famous pitch on Insubong as well as a well known 5.12+. Wow was it hard, I didn’t realize that I could hold onto pebbles and paste my feet onto edges the width of a quarter. I kid you not it was one of the most difficult things I have done in my lifetime. I had no idea that the pitch was going to be that hard, Lian just exclaimed the route was “quite funny” and I would enjoy it. Note to self “funny” means hard. I knew when Lian was midway through his lead of Villa and he was letting out some significantly loud grunts that this was a hard route. I only made it up through his motivational words, and the fact that I didn’t want to hold up the other members of our party.
“Villa” is a well know pitch because it had just recently been free climbed sometime within the last decade. It was previously always climbed as an aid climbing pitch and still for obvious reasons. Lian breezed through it like it was nothing. Good job LIAN!
I ended the day with some hard sport climbs after had already climbed tons of vertical. Oh did I mention my 200ft plus rappel! Awesome times when you have lots of rope and multiple climbers. Overall one of the most exciting day I have had in Korea!