Nowadays, more and more people in Korea enjoy rock-climbing, which is an extreme sport. The number of schools teaching rock-climbing has doubled compared to ten years ago. What attracts people to climb the mountains? To answer this question, I knocked on the door of the room for Sanak-Hoe, a hiking and rock-climbing club of UOS.
Interview _ with Song Seung-kon, the president of Sanak-Hoe (Dept. of Physics, ’07)
Briefly explain about Sanak-Hoe.
Sanak-Hoe was founded in 1961 and has continued climbing rough mountains ever since. In Korea, we work as an executive and rescue team. We teach climbing and go on expeditions to Mt. Seorak and other mountains every summer and winter. Overseas, we have climbed many mountains: the Alps during the winter of 1988-99, Yosemite Bigwall, Communism Peak, Pakistan's Great Trango Tower in 1991, and Batura Ⅱ peak in 2008.
Interview _ with Jeon Pu-r-na (Dept. of Physics, ’07)
You climbed Mt. Everest with a climber Kim Chang-ho. Did the experience in Sanak-Hoe lead you to decide to climb Mt. Everest?
Anyone who has participated in Sanak-Hoe has at least a vague dream of an overseas expedition. I also had such dream after joining the club. Then, one day, mountaineer Kim Chang-ho, an alumnus of Sanak-Hoe, was looking for juniors who were inclined to participate in his expedition. He accepted me after several days, and I was given a chance to climb Mt. Everest with him. If I were not in Sanak- Hoe, I could have not even imagined the climbing.
You have been to a lot of mountains in Korea and overseas. Why do you enjoy climbing mountains?
Although I have been to overseas expeditions several times, there are only a few mountains I went for climbing in Korea. Therefore, I had not been to various mountains yet. However, I love all the mountains regardless of their location, size, or geographical features because I am a friend of nature. I can heal my mind and body, which are exhausted from a repetitive and dull urban life, in nature. Plus, I love the close comradeship and deep associations I make with people on the mountains, too. These two things are the biggest reasons why I climb mountains.
Interview _ with Sanak-Hoe members on Mt. Bukhan
Why did you join Sanak-Hoe?
* I joined Sanak-Hoe to learn climbing and to grow my trust in people around me. Climbing is largely based on trust in other climbers. If you do not trust others when climbing, you might die in some situations. (Then, which activity do you think especially help you more rely on other members?) There is one activity in climbing called belaying, in which you climb the rocks and the other person pulls your rope. Through belaying, we learn to depend on others and how to cooperate with them. (Yin Jae-hyun (Dept. of Life Science, ’13))
* There are many sports in which you need to compete with others to win. Climbing is attractive because the competition is within myself. Mountains are difficult to climb, but there is always an end. I really love the sense of achievement I feel when I get to the top of the mountain. (Oh Hae-lee (Dept. of Urban Administration, ’09))
* First, climbing risks your life. Sometimes it gets very dangerous and I always have to get tensed. However, once I get down to the ground, I feel alive and get motivated to live more zealously. On a mountain, I can feel the nature by listening to the sounds of leaves, birds, the wind and such. However, in cities, I only hear the unpleasant sounds like noises from cars. I relax on the mountain without these noises from cities. Therefore, I think these are the attractions of the mountains. (Jeon Pu-r-na)
What is unique about Sanak-Hoe?
* Since Sanak-Hoe’s history is long, its members are also from diverse backgrounds ? from classes of 1960 to 2013. Sometimes, but not very often, seniors come to visit the club, because the interaction among the participants of the club does not stop. We continue to keep in touch with each other and enjoy climbing the mountains together. We also care for each other through ups and downs. Since everybody cherishes each other like a family, I love my club and its members. Also, we enjoy outdoor camping and climbing, which is not easy for ordinary people to experience because camping is not allowed for anyone. Camping on Insubong Hill is permitted only to members of KAF (Korea Alpine Federation) or KSAF (Korea Student Alpine Federation). Camping and climbing also costs a lot of money, but if you join Sanak-Hoe, you do not need to pay for this. (Jeon Pu-r-na)
What lessons do you learn through climbing?
* If I stop climbing while hiking the mountain, the others behind me have to stop as well. I then feel sorry for interrupting the flow of climbing for everyone. From this, I learn the sense of teamwork and cooperation with others. (Hong Seong-jae (Dept. of Life Science, ’13))
* I feel competitive when I get lagged behind the other members, so I am encouraged to do better. This rather pleasant sense of rivalry gives me positive motivation in climbing. (Oh Hae-lee (Dept. of Urban Administration, ’09))
* Hiking requires consideration of others. When you go on a hike, you have to follow the pace with the slowest person, not the fastest one, so I always check the location and pace of others. There are some times when a new member goes climbing for the first time and they think they are doing a good job if they climb fast, leaving other climbers behind. However, this is not a very sound idea because hiking is all about teamwork and cooperation which involves putting others before yourself rather than beating the others. (Jeon Pu-r-na)
* When I went for climbing to Mt. Bukhan for the first time, I saw a 119 helicopter coming to rescue people. A lot of accidents occur in Mt. Bukhan. My seniors said that even professional climbers sometimes get into accidents because they are too confident that they climb without proper preparation. Someone in our club said that he got more courage every time he climbed mountains, but I became more modest because a little mistake could lead to death as in those cases. (Kim Seon-yin (Dept. of Music, ’11))
* Every time I climb a mountain, I get the feeling that I am merely a small creature compared to the nature. If it rains or thunders when I climb a mountain, it can be very dangerous. There is not much I can do in such weather condition and I have to stop hiking. At such moments, I become modest in front of the universe. I am very trivial, compared to the whole universe. (Jeon Pu-r-na)
Yoon Woo-seung Junior Reporter
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