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  • Writer's pictureJak

Things don't always go to plan

This weekend, our associated Canyoning Group attempted a couple of Seoraksan recces and descents. We were thwarted by the weather on both attempts.

On day 1, with time pressure, a long to do list, and some high water levels, we bailed off a recce that we'd hoped to accomplish whilst staying dry. We now have some extra info that was unattainable through blogs and other sources - and a plan for a second attempt is forming in our minds.

With unprecedented levels of success, this year, confidence was high - and this failure took us back to our earliest days of exploring Seoraksan. It was also a sign of what was to come on day 2...

Equipped with what we assumed was some pretty good info for a quick approach to the top of Oseung Falls, we decided to make an attempt on descending this huge waterfall in the morning of what was forecast to be a generally foul day.

We started at 7am, and knew we were good until 1pm.

The approach started out great, but then the promised route up onto the ridge did not materialise.

After spending some time pottering around on loose and steep slopes, which quickly bluffed out, we decided to attempt the steep climb immediately to the river left of the falls.

It looked like a ledge would take us to some pine tree anchors that would at least drop us down via an alternate line to the rebelay bolts half way down the falls.

The climb got more and more precarious as we progressed.

At the point where we decided to bail (due to the risk of incoming weather), a traverse did look possible (with the gear and competency of the team).

There was also an anchor left behind that we assume someone used in similar circumstances. After assessing it (not a lot of time required to do that), we opted for a much more sensible tree - and more competent rig.

Our descent was not a success, but the climb and escape was actually pretty good training - and the views were still spectacular.

After reviewing the beta we were using, we suspect that some of it is very inaccurate. The gps tracked route we attempted to follow seemed highly dubious across the section where we all lost phone reception. The comments about time and difficulty also seemed a little off. Some essential details were also missing, and we believe the individual did not actually get to the top of the waterfall. It looks more and more likely that this particular trip will require a much more substantial time commitment to get to the top of the falls.

Perhaps we'll make another attempt, but there are some unseen and unvisited waterfalls and canyons that have now leapfrogged this particular descent on the to-do list.

Not a wasted weekend by any stretch, but not quite what we'd aimed for.

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