I’m heading to Jirisan!

This is the season of summer vacation. What are your plans?

Since my job is related to travel, I don’t often take a traveling vacation, but this summer I’m heading to the wilderness for 4 days! The plan is to hike ridges of Jirisan, the second tallest and the largest mountain in South Korea. Spiritually, Jirisan is one of the most important mountains for Koreans as it’s known as the mother of all mountains. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time, and this year, Stephen and I decided to finally try it.

There are many hiking trails that allow a day hike, but what all the hikers desire to do at least once in their lifetime is the ridge hike. Jirisan ridge hike is where you can walk along the back bone of this massive mountain. Including the ascending and descending, the trail is about 59 km (36.7 mi) total. The elevation difference between lowest to highest is 1285 m (4216 ft). There are 16 peaks that are higher than 1500 m (4921 ft). This is considered one of the most important hiking courses to complete if you are an avid hiker.

This is the brief plan (hopefully, if everything goes right):

  • July 18 Monday (5.2km hike)
    • Seoul – Gurye (3.5 hours by bus)
    • Reach the trailhead at Sungsamjae (성삼재 휴게소) and hike to Nogodan Peak (1507m/ 4944ft)
    • Spend the first night at Nogodan Shelter
  • July 19 Tuesday (13.6km/8.45mi hike)
    • Hike to Yeonhacheon Shelter via Banyabong Peak (1732m/5682.4ft)
    • Spend the second night at Yeonhacheon Shelter (1480m/4655.6ft)
  • July 20 Wednesday (13.3km/8.26mi hike)
    • Hike to Jangteomok Shelter
    • Spend the night at Jangteomok Shelter (1653m/5423ft)
  • July 21 Thursday (7.1km/4.41mi hike)
    • See the sunrise at the highest peak Cheonwangbong Peak (1915m/6283ft)
      *Cheonwangbong is notorious for morning fog. It’s known that the Sky God allows you to see the sunrise only three generations of your family did a lot of good deeds. So, we shall see.
    • Hike down to Jungsanri Rest Area

Clothing: what am I bringing?

Because were eating at least 8 meals up in the mountain, and the temperature change, we have quite a heavy bag, but hopefully we can make it without any big incident. This is the longest hiking trip I’ve done in Korea. I’m nervous for the journey but also excited to be submerged in the wilderness for next few days.

My dad, who is the most active hiker I know, did the same hike in the 80s. It’s funny to discover that I’m like him more than I thought. He’s probably thinking the same thing.

I’ll be offline until Thursday, if I come down Jirisan in one piece. Wish us luck, and talk to you soon!

The Complete Guide to the Jirisan Ridge Hike: full series

[0] Preparation and Things to Remember

[1] Day 1: Sungsamjae – Nogodan Shelter

[2] Day 2: Nogodan – Yeonhacheon Shelter

[3] Day 3: Yeonhacheon Shelter – Jangteomok Shelter

[4] Day 4: D-Day Cheonwangbong Peak Sunrise Extravagant

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