|Vigorous climbing movement in Korea
By Kim Jeong-tai
Nearly all organizations, high schools and universities
across the country have mountaineering or hiking clubs, whose members
visit in groups suburban and renowned mountains in provinces on
holidays. Hikers and climbers of both sexes, young and old, estimated
to number between three million and four million by newspapers,
enjoy mountaineering with vigor.
People engaged in the nationwide
sport are increasing by geometric progression.
This can be attributed partially to improved living standards the
Korean enjoy thanks to the remarkable economic growth they have
brought about since the 1960s.
It is also part of the world trend
of leisure enjoyment stemming from a human instinct of associating
themselves with nature and mountains. Also responsible for the phenomenon
is the facts that Korea is geomorphologically characterized by abundant
hills and mountains, and that the Koreans have had to climb mountains
from time immemorial.
|Legend have it that Tangun, who founded
Korea 4317 years ago or in 2333 B.D., descended on Mt. Paekdu,
the highest one on this peninsula. Brave and courageous youths
called Hwarang who provided the main source of strength to Silla
Dynasty that unified Korea in 676 A.D. were trained mainly in
mountains. The Koreans thus have a historical tradition of appreciating
mountains and youths in particular are very keen on mountain
Perhaps because of such traditions the highest and scenic mountains
in the country have long been designated as devine or sacred
mountains, to which commoners paid religious pilgrimage.
this may explain why mountaineering activities are carried out
in Korea nowadays so vigorously.
Many individual hikers and climbers and climbers' clubs belong to
CAC, KAF, University and High School Alpine Federation, Working Places
Alpine Federation and Tourist Alpine Society, the latter three of
which came into being about ten years ago. These organizations with
the support and help provided by various social bodies have conducted
mountaineering movement across the country.
The vigorous climbing activities in South Korea described above reflect
the vigor and vitality with which the nation has achieve economic
and social growth in recent decades.
Lastly I wish to extend a hearty congratulation to the Korean mountaineering
circles on the occasion that they host the 46th UIAA General Assembly
in Seoul this year, probably the highest tribute of recognition to
The author Kim Jeong-tai was a well-known alpinist and skier in korea.
He was a member of the Baekryong Club, the first Korean alpine body,
and joined to organize Corean Alpine Club to which he had been serving
as a vice-president for two decades.