This is part of an ongoing series re-telling Brittany’s fourteener-skiing story. Look for the reports every Thursday, as part of a Throwback Thursday theme.
Mount Oxford and Belford was my second experience of the double-fourteener whammy and there would certainly be more to come. They were my 18th and 19th fourteeners to ski. Below is a slightly modified version of my original trip report from Mount Oxford and Mount Belford.
Mt. Oxford (14,160′) & Mt. Belford (14,203′)
Brittany and Frank
Well, I began packing for the long weekend of tackling 3 different 14ers on Wednesday, hoping to leave Thursday night after work or Friday morning. My cat was NOT happy about it. She decided to sit on top of my down jacket for hours right in the middle of the floor, completely in the way of me packing. It was her way of saying, “I hate you for leaving me”…
Frank and I decided to meet at the Vicksburg TH at 7 am to begin our day of tackling 2 fourteeners. For those of you unfamiliar with this area, the best way of accessing Oxford is to climb Belford first, then go to Oxford, and then back to Belford again. Indeed in your attempt to climb 2 fourteeners this requires you to summit one of them twice. But it really is the easiest way. So, that was the plan.
It had snowed several inches in the the lower valleys only a couple of days before. But you could barely tell now that it had even snowed. There was not a trace of new snow down low and much of the ground was dry. We climbed 300 vertical feet before putting on skins.
We moved quickly in the morning, covering 1400 vert in just an hour. When it finally opened up into the valley we slowed down a bit. But we knew it was going to be a long day, so we kept on pushing.
Skinning up the valley.
We picked a nice little NW-facing gully to skin up on Belford.
We were on the summit before we knew it And as always, the summit provided beautiful views.
Out of the 6 days that we skied in YongPyong, it snowed five of those days. Although we enjoyed being rewarded by plentiful white fluffy stuff, was also wanted to emerge from the clouds to see exactly what surrounded us. During the afternoon of day four, the clouds began to lift. And day 5 was brilliantly sunny and sparkly. These photos are from those days, and are our best photos from the trip.
This will be our last report of our Skiing in South Korea series. Perhaps it’s only appropriate that we saved the best for last
We finally saw the ocean, in the distance on the right.
When we first arrived in YongPyong, one of first tasks was to figure out the price of lift tickets. YongPyong is one of those places that will charge for a variety of time slots, from a full day ticket to a two hour window, and with night skiing going past midnight, that left a lot of options. It quickly became apparent that since a full day ticket would cost roughly $60.00, while a season pass was $180.00, we would be buying season passes. First we needed to fill this out:
It was clear that our English names didn’t have much meaning for the lift ticket agents- close enough, I guess:
One of the perks of having season passes was the night skiing, which was quite extensive at YongPyong. This lift didn’t see a lot of action, which just added to the experience:
When people ask us about our trip to Korea, I usually respond with something along the lines of “The skiing was pretty fun, but that trip was about the experience and the culture as much as the skiing”. I love skiing more than just about anything, but travel is probably right behind skiing on my list. A big part of travel is experiencing the culture, and a big part of experiencing a culture is eating the local food. I think that’s why Anthony Bourdain has been so successful with his TV shows- the travel and the food are almost interchangeable. [As an aside, replacing Bourdain would have to be my dream job- getting paid a lot of money to travel and eat good food while being snarky and cynical would fit me perfectly]. So, what did I think of Korean Food?
Sitting on the floor is common at traditional Korean restaurants
I should start off by saying that my favorite type of food is Asian. Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese- I will take any of them over a slice of pizza or a burger any day of the week. Korean food isn’t as popular in America as the other countries I just mentioned, but I did go to Korea with at least a little knowledge of Korean food, in large part because my brother-in-law was born in Korea. I should also say that while I was a picky eater growing up, I’m not one anymore. Pointing at a picture on a menu, with no idea whatsoever what it is, just doesn’t scare me. Knowing the modern-day Korean’s obsession with education, I assumed that there would be plenty of English spoken in Pyeongchang. I was wrong. So, we really did order food at times without a clue of what we were ordering. That led to, as an example, a soup which we later found to be blood sausage (it was tasty).
I’ll start with one of my favorites, bibim guksu, which was a cold, spicy buckwheat noodle salad that is traditionally a summertime dish. Koreans are big fans of scissors, and in this case it was used to break up the long noodles.