Friday, June 15, 2012

Rock Climbing at the Dyno Rock Wall at The North Face in Suyu, Seoul

A view from below of one of the most difficult climbs the gym has to offer

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to give one of my old favorite childhood sports a go again; rock climbing. If you've never gone rock climbing before, you may imagine it to be a really dangerous sport where people risk their lives to scale mountain faces, but in reality it's a very fun, safe sport when done correctly. Now, most people don't have the time to be scaling mountain cliffs all the time, but for those who want to practice this sport, the best place to do it is in a rock gym. We found Dyno Wall in Suyu on line 4 in the northern part of Seoul. It's operated by The North Face and is on the 4th floor of The North Face store in Suyu. 

 Our rental shoes. Remember that rock climbing shoes should feel small...

We opted for an hour lesson with equipment rental (really wound up being like an hour and a half). The price was 20,000 won per person which included all the equipment, plus the instructor. I thought the price was quite reasonable since a similar program at my old rock gym in Boston charges nearly $60 for a similar 3-hour program.

Our climbing route

It was the first time to rock climb for the two friends that accompanied me and it was fun to watch them climb for the first time. While one friend had no problems, another friend freaked out when she got about half way up. Perhaps she looked down and didn't realize that the rope would catch her if she fell. The most important part when rock climbing is loosing the fear of falling. The person at the bottom will have a tight grip on the rope, so even if you fall, you'll just swing in the air, personally, falling is one of the most fun parts of climbing for me. Our instructor also taught us three words to use when rock climbing (in Korean). When starting out, it's important to let the person at the bottom who is belaying know when you are ready to climb, so you must announce "출발", when you reach the top and are ready to descend, you should shout out "완료" which means "complete". Once you finish, it's time to come down. Take your hands off the rocks and put your body in a "ㄴ" shape, at 90˚ to the wall and then walk, or better, jump your way down the wall as the instructor gently loosens the rope.

Me scaling the wall
 Bouldering Area

After the lesson is finished you have free access to the gym for the rest of the day. Unfortunately for us, there was a children's class going on and they were bouldering (climbing without a rope on low areas) meaning that there wasn't much room for us to practice. My arms were feeling a bit achy though and I was alright with calling it a day and heading home.

 Really amazing boy bouldering

Whether you're looking for a place to practice your favorite sport, or just looking to try something new and exciting, The North Face Rock Gym is the place for you. Their prices seem quite reasonable to me considering that this tends to be a rather expensive sport to get into. I just recommend going before 4 pm to avoid the children taking their climbing class.

Directions: From Suyu Station (Line 4) take exit 1 and walk straight about 100 meters until you see The North Face store. Enter the store and take the elevator to the 4th floor.

Hours: Weekdays: 10 am-10 pm, Weekends 10 am - 8 pm.  

~ One day fee: 15,000
~1- hour program with instructor: 20,000 won. Better to make reservations, but you can show up before 3pm even without one. Minimum 2 people. Includes all equipment. 11-5
~ Beginner program: Two evenings a week 7:30-9:30 pm starting on even months (Feb, April, June etc). 8 Week program. 200,000 won.
~ Intermediate Program : Two evenings a week 7:30-9:30 pm starting on even months (Feb, April, June etc). 8 Week program. 200,000 won.
~ Membership: 6 months: 400,000 won, 1 year: 700,000 won. Free use of the gym at all times of the day. 


  1. Looks like a fun place! I'd love to give it a try. Thanks for sharing! :)

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