Pictures of climbing Ulsanbawi 울산바위 (蔚山岩) in Seoraksan

I thought the climb from Heundeulbawi to the base of Ulsanbawi was hard, but it was nothing compared to actually climbing up Ulsanbawi to get to the very top. Boy, was I wrong!

Everyone told me Ulsanbawi would be the most difficult course at Seoraksan National Park, but when I got to the base of the rock, it looked rather innocuous. Don't get me wrong, it was really high, but seeing so many people enjoying their picnics amongst the rocks made me momentarily relaxed. 

Base of Ulsanbawi Rock

I grew even more relaxed when I saw the red metal stairs.

Red metal stairs to Ulsanbawi

So that's it? Climbing Ulsanbawi would just be climbing some stairs? I mean, they were steep stairs, but they were stairs and not jutting rocks. I deluded myself into thinking that the climb wouldn't be so bad after all.

That feeling didn't last very long though.

Day 6: Hiking to Ulsanbawi and Heundeulbawi in Mt. Seorak 설악산

Before I get started, I just want to take a moment to wish everyone a Happy New Year. 2010 has been a tough year for a lot of people, but hopefully 2011 will bring more goodwill and prosperity. My New Year's resolution includes overcoming my fear of flying, but that goal has made it on my list every single year without being crossed off, so I have to work a little harder on that. If you have any tips for overcoming this phobia, please send them my way! I would really appreciate the help and advice.

Okay, so onto my second day in the mountains.

On the previous day, I took the express bus from Seoul to Sokcho and checked into Seoraksan Tourist Hotel. I had enough time to walk through some areas of Seoraksan National Park, hitting hot spots like Sinheungsa, Biseondae, and Cheonbuldong Valley before the sun set.

My sixth day in South Korea started with surprising un-sore legs. My feet were killing me after walking all over the place yesterday, but I woke up feeling excited and refreshed, not to mention relieved that a bug didn't crawl up my nose in the middle of the night! For breakfast, I ate some food and snacks I brought with me from Seoul and packed the rest into my backpack. I filled up my water bottle and was set to tackle one of the most difficult courses in Seoraksan National Park: Ulsanbawi Rock 울산바위 (蔚山岩)and Heundeulbawi Rock 흔들바위 (晃动岩).

The best thing about staying in a hotel that's inside the park is that I didn't have to do anything but walk out of the hotel entrance to enter the park. No bus and no fees! The weather was also great. And speaking of the weather, that's the one thing I haven't mentioned so far.