Theme Treks through ChirisanChirisan mountains need climbers' heartbeats threatening to be exploded and beads of sweat wetting their clothing.
But one of mountaineers introduces the way people can enjoy climbing Jirisan Mountains known as so hard to climb.
He is Sung Rak-gon, head of the Chirisan 'Onggojibtul' a group of Chirisan aficionados who explore the beautiful mountain range, and leader of the Chirisan Mountain Tours. Recently, he and members of the group visited the mountains choosing a special subject connected with them.
He has treated over 100 themes when conducting the tours finding springs, exploring routes taken by guerrillas during the Korean war, geology, horticulture and the great trees of the mountains or their wild flowers, tracking tigers and Manchurian black bears, finding medicinal herbs.
The climbs through the Chirisan range usually are held once or twice a month with an interesting subject in lead.
They held their first trek, 'Palbaekri Ilju'(800 'ri' or 320km trek) on February 27. For this trip, they had planned for only 40 participants but they had to turn back people when over 100 people wanted to join.
Sung insists that mountain-climbing like this echoes his own particular mountaineering philosophy, "In the West, mountains are things to be conquered and are climbed with this viewpoint in mind. Mountains are not a stage for sports but a school for enriching our souls."
Sung is a gregarious professional mountaineer who has climbed in the Himalayas over 20 times among which hwas the expedition with people from Chinju moutaineers in October 1985. He also runs a mountain equipment shop, a bookstore with climbing books, and is a publisher of anything dealing with mountains and climbing. Sung he is enthusiastic about developing the Chirisan theme treks, "I hope people enjoy mountain climbing. I will continue offering subjects for our theme treks, a highlight all our participants relish and enjoy."
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by Kim Sang-jin