Halla Mt. which is the tallest mountain in South Korea, and
Jeju Island where is one of the places with the most rain in South Korea
They think Jeju''s climate is gentle all year around, and even winter is not different.
Yes, thst''s true. But they forget one thing. It is Halla Mt.
Its altitude is 1,950 m. It is the tallest mountain in South Korea, it is popular to professional climbers for the last training place to check their skills before they go to Europe expeditions. Um Hong Gil and Oh Eun Sun like world top class climbers went through this Halla Mt.
However, what attracted me more than any other things was its over 1 m fresh powder snow and not crowded trees on Halla Mt. which is different from other mountains of Korea since it is a volcanic mountain.
There are four trekking courses, and they are Sung Pan Ak, Don Nae Ko, Yung Sil, and Gwan Eum Sa. I picked Sung Pan Ak which has the flatest course and Yung Sil course which I can approach very close to the top by a car.
Preparing Backcountry Powder skiing
I got Halla Mt.''s trekking map for the first thing after I made courses. I was drawing routes on that map with a scale of 1:50,000 that I would ski down as checking its contour. And also I wrote coordinates on designed routes and put that data into GPS just for case.
And then I prepared simple food for backcountry powder skiing during 2 days.
Here is one tip about preparing food for backcountry powder skiing trip.
Backcountry Powder Skiing is much tougher that regular trekking or skiing because we should carry ski gear and heavy backpack. So you should consider that you need lots of calories but light backpack.
So you''d better prepare small and light High-calory energy bars which is used in Triathlon training or competitions rather than big and heavy food.
Next it is gear. Since I would simply walk up along the trekking course of Halla Mt. for this expedition, so actually crampons was enough for this trip.
However sometimes this could happen that you get too excited while doing backcountry powder skiing and lose your track. So I didn''t forget to put snowshoes just in case that I need to climb up on powder snow.
1. GPS to find a route
2. Map to make a whole route
3. High-calory energy bar and beverage
4. Backpack which can bind skis and snowshoes
I had already booked my flight ticket when planning this project, and I called the guest house that I happily used last summer adventure. It is located right next to Hot Springs so it is the best place ever to relax your tired muscles after backcountry powder skiing.
Tip-when you make a route, it would be better with steep off-piste a little. For exaple with ski resort''s slopes, you''d better choose more than intermediate courses so it is easy to make turns and fun.
If you follow valleys, it is easy to find a way out but you could crush hidden rocks covered with deep snow, or you break thin layer of powder melting by water heat and fall into that hole.
So I''m not a fan of skiing along valleys.
First day in Jeju
I got on a flight at 4 pm and landed on Jeju Island at 5 pm.
Heavy snow warnings drove Jeju Island crazy this year especially. Yep no need to say, I saw white snow flying around by wind.
I picked up my rental car which I reserved in advance, and wanted to have a dinner at a restaurant around Jeju city hall.
So I started looking for the famous Jeju Island''s dark pig''s pork belly restaurant.
¡®I will climb up Halla Mt. with dark pig''s power!!''
After dinner I drove to the guest house, and unpacked then headed to Hot Springs, and got into Hot Springs right away as doing image-training for tomorrow''s adventure.
Jeju Halla Mt. Backcountry Powder Skiing -Sungpanak Part-
I got up at 5 am because it takes 4~5 hours for one way in Sungpanak
As I put skies, and filled my backpack with boots and food, I felt I was really going backcountry powder skiing on Halla Mt.
I had simple breakfast, and washed up then it was 6 am. But the sky was still dark and cloudy.
''I hope it to be a clear day''
Finally, I started my car''s engine, and it was getting clearer so surrounding view got into my eyes.
There were only palm trees with leaves turned yellow color.
"What the hell is it? Is it really snowing on Halla Mt?"
I got worried. I drove along Jeju circle coastal road, and changed it to 516 road heading to Sunpanak station.
''What? What is that?''
As altitude was changing along the mountain road, surrounding view of Halla Mt. also started changing.
Thin snow under trees along mountain road at the buttom started getting thicker, and they almost reached to the level of car window at Sunpanak station.
1. You can see a little bit on side of the road
2. More snow than just before
3. Now you can see more snow on the road
4. So much snow on road and side
¡®Wow this is Halla Mt''s real face¡¯
It was the moment that I thought like that.
There were many mountaineers gathering even though it was early morning! Some came individual, or others came with travel agencies or Aplin clubs. They all were busy in preparing for trekking.
First I looked around, and I could not believe what I saw was the real Jeju''s view because of so much snow!
I paid Halla Mt. National Park Office for parking fee, and I combinded skies and snowshoes to my backpack.
It was the moment that I stepped my first step forward to ''Baekdu to Halla" project!