Alas, I’m back out in the wild again after a couple weeks’ worth repos–I went down to Hamyang to check out this less frequented ten pointer called Gyegwansan. This area is quite convenient for me, as just recently (at the end of 2007) this new section of highway 20 was opened–it goes right from Iksan IC (technically, Iksan JC, 2 km south of Iksan IC on the 25) down to the 35 at Jangsu, in the heart of the mountains, at the bottom of Deogyusan National Park, and likewise this area makes good apple country.
–utz! Not so quick, there! For a few reasons:
Finding the trail head wasn’t an easy task, in fact, going up, I didn’t find it. I was half following a deer track (with some recent prints), some gullies, and found an older marked path (white paint on trees) which may be what was on my older map on the gps…after about 200m of ascent (up to about 700/800m) I finally found “the real” trail, or at least, that which is most beaten and ribboned.
The other trail was passable, though slightly overgrown, and more difficult in some places (even though it ran 50-100m down the hill parallel to the beaten path). Maybe two minutes after getting on this main path, did I come across an older couple out looking for 산채, wild mountain veggies. They asked me why I was going up so early (it was already an hour after sunrise)…ahem, I almost didn’t make it down to the car before sunset!
As of April 7, 2009, Hamyang-gun (county) announces the change of Goaegwansan 괘관산(掛冠山) to Daebongsan 대봉산(大鳳山), additionally of Cheonhwangbong 천황봉(天皇峰) to Cheonwangbong 천왕봉(天王峰), and naming of the western peak as Gyegwanbong 계관봉(鷄冠峰).
This is to reflect locally familiar names to this mountain and its peaks, as well as nomenclature of Korean origins, whereas Goaegwansan and Cheonhwangbong were assigned during Japanese colonial rule, Cheonhwang 천황 giving hommage to the Japanese Emperor, as opposed to Cheonwang 천왕 to the Korean. Gyegwanbong refers to the shape of the mountain’s profile which resembles a chicken’s crop.
Left Iksan at 3am to meet Taek (who we met on the boat coming back from Dandong, China, at the beginning of the month) and climb Songnisan. 1058m. 8 points. An HT. An antenna I can’t use. A hat forgotten in the car. Likewise an antenna mast left in the back seat, too. A full LiPO battery. No camera battery. One low cell phone battery. One presumably full cell phone battery (actually 100% dead). One person of the three in the party who split off and took the wrong trail. 2L of Pocari Sweat. The smell of stale Makeoli wafting off the rocks. I think you get the idea…
The interesting aspect of this activation was the two activation zones (4km apart from each other) as well as the (to be verified) impressive distances made via a simple HT running at 5W with no special antennas (apart from the non-stock Diamond-6dB-better-than-a-duckie). I made a few (4!) S2S with GW-004 (x2), GW-206 and GG-015. Now, none of these people were operating “SOTA” so I’m not sure of their access or precise locations on the summits (in the AZ, etc) but from taking a quick look at some of their web pages, these might be legit activations. We’ll see….(if so, that’ll make 22 chaser points for just one day!)
***EDIT***Verified some of those S2S potentials, SHC is in, GRP/GFM unfortunately not. While they were operating portable using a 50W mobile rig that they dragged up top, they were on the helipad of Hambaeksan which is at ~1530m, out of the AZ by about 20m (they were trying to get out of the way of the big antenna signals on the very top…) Next time!