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  • Writer's pictureJak

Take the stairs?

I've made my thoughts about the preponderance of stairs, on Korean mountain trails, fairly clear - I'm not keen on them, and I am rather dismayed at the rapid rate at which they're spreading.

However, on a recent day out, I was asked by my companion why I was taking the stairs when a better trail was running alongside? The trail was clearly more fun; offering a more tactile experience and less monotonous rhythm.

I figure, if the stairs are there, then use them. This will give the vegetation a chance to reclaim the old trail. The stairs will be there for a while, and there doesn't seem much can be done about them.

Not using the stairs seems to me to be an ineffective protest against their proliferation.

Mountain authorities and National Parks seem, in the case of stairs and accessibility, to be more interested in courting the favour of casual visitors than genuine outdoor enthusiasts. And who can blame them? They certainly have the numbers.

The day's conversation also touched on the issue of fixed ropes too. On previous trips we'd done together, we had come across cut fixed ropes on some off trail routes.

Having learned my climbing and mountaineering basics in England, I learned to abhor the intrusive nature of bolts, fixed ropes and stairs.

Then, after working and climbing in Europe, I came to see the benefits of bolts and fixed ropes (especially in commercial canyons!).

I don't mind fixed ropes on some routes - but there ought to be some trails left untouched.

The only time I have major concerns are when fixed ropes are cut, but the bolts and tat is not removed. My assumption in these instances is that the rope has been cut to deny people access rather than with the aim of preserving or protecting an environment. I detect a malicious element in these actions. I'm all in favour of removing unnecessary anchors and the like, but this action ought to be taken with great care.

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