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 Impressions from a trip to the top Korea's highest mountain.
 

- Hallasan,  - 1958 m. -




Hallasan is Koreas highest mountain, and for koreans it is considered very good, if you once during your lifetime have done the scenic hike to the very top.
The koreans apparently have a very soft spot for this mountain, which , - I believe -, is just the same feeling as the Japanese have for their world famous mountain, - the Fujiyama.

But then the similarities between the two volcanic mountains stop.
While the Fujiyama with its perfect cone is the most famous mountain in the Far East, - and indeed one of the most famous mountains in the whole World -, the Hallasan is virtually unknown outside the region.

What a shame, - because this mountain is fantastic - - - - - - -

The perfect volcano cone is absent here, and the whole mountain, - and the terrain around it -,is apparently one big, disorganized mess of humps, holes, flat plains and vertical walls and fantastic volcanic rock formations, so very different from Fujiyamas clean, perfect symmetrical lines - - -

Apparently Mother Nature went crazy here, and that is exactly why I consider Hallasan to be the absolute winner when comparing the two mountains - - -

Having climbed numerous of Koreas wild, wild mountains, - which I consider to be the absolute best hiking country in the World -, I finally decided to go for the Hallasan way back in October 1991- - -

Please enjoy some of my impressions from conquering the Hallasan, - Korea's highest mountain - - -
 
 



Hallasan
On the road again, - towards the mighty Hallasan on island Cheju-do - -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)

This picture is taken from the local bus that runs on the eastern cross island highway between Cheju and Sogwipo.
The central, high part of the island, - with the Hallasan -, is seen in the background - -
There are several trails from all directions, that leads up to the top of Hallasan, but I chose the Orimok trail, because it starts very conveniently from this highway about halfway between Cheju and Sogwipo - -
 
 



Hallasan
- pleasant hiking, - the first part of the Orimok trail is neathly paved with natural rocks -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 


Hallasan
On the trail up, - first sight of something exiting -, a dried out river bed full of boulders -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 


Hallasan
-above the tree limit, - a strange volcanic landscape with craters and cones -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 


Hallasan
- the plants, the trees, the rocks, the colours, - everything look stange on this mountain -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 


Hallasan
- the gray main crater coming into sight -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 


Hallasan
Full view of the awesome looking crater - -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 


Hallasan
A closer view of the crater wall - - -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 


Hallasan
 - the magnificent, - but quite hostile looking -, outer crater wall -
- considered to go for the top from here, but changed my mind and looked for an easier place to attack -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 


Hallasan
- decided to walk around the crater wall in order to find an easier access to the top -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 


Hallasan
- but it looked more and more inaccessible as I hiked around the crater cone -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)






This wall seems very hostile and impossible to climb without proper equipment, so I had to find an easier access to the crater top.
I did not know which way to go, - left or right -, but luckily enough, I decided to walk to the right along this awesome looking lava wall - - -
 
 


Hallasan
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)






That was a good decision - - -
Until now I have had the trail very much to myself, but now the mountain side was suddenly full of people, - all heading in the same direction.
Apparently they came from nowhere, but the reason for this sudden concentration of people was, that this was the access point for getting up on the crater rim, and the various trails on the mountain all came together at this point - -
The way up was like a giant highway made from an ancient lava flow - -
 
 



Hallasan
Finally!  -  on the trail up to the crater rim, which can be seen in the background - -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 


Hallasan
Almost there - - - A look down the path from the crater rim - - -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 


Hallasan
Finally there, - a look into the crater - -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 
 


Hallasan
- from inside the crater, - ghostlike clouds rolling in -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 


Hallasan
- same view as previous picture, - but taken a few moments later -
(Just to show how fast nature changes on the mountain!)
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 


Hallasan
- a song for mount Halla - , Koreans celebrating this wonder of Mother Nature -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 


Hallasan
Is this the Moon???? - -A view of the crater rim studded with volcanic rocks.
- the crater is to the left, - and down mountain is to the right -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 


Hallasan
- amongst the clouds, - view from the crater rim to the plateau below -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)






Having reached the top of mount Hallasan by the Oromok trail, I decided to take another route down in order to see and experience different landscapes - - -
Following series of pictures are from the return trip via the Youngshill trail, - a trail maybe even more thrilling and scenic than the Orimok trail - - -
And this trail I had completely to myself!
Nobody was there, - only me - , in the middle of a magnificent scenery of volcanic rocks - - - -
 
 




Hallasan
- a view down the outer crater rim.
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)






Having reached the top of mount Hallasan by the Oromok trail, I decided to take another route down in order to see and experience different landscapes - - -
Following series of pictures are from the return trip via the Youngshill trail, - a trail maybe even more thrilling and scenic than the Orimok trail - - -
And this trail I had completely to myself!
Nobody was there, - only me - , as if I was all alone in the World, in the middle of a magnificent scenery of volcanic rocks - - - -
 
 



Hallasan
- on the trail down again -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 


Hallasan
 - back on the high plain below the crater cone -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 


Hallasan
- looking back towards the cone, - now covered in clouds - , and people coming down -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 


Hallasan
Clouds coming - - - A view back towards the crater - -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen)
 
 
 

 Click here for  Hallasan  - part two - -





Updated:  October 30.2000
               July 09.2006
               Feb.19.2008