Launching-Ceremony for the
2007 Baekdu-daegan Expedition
Sunday September 2nd, 2007
New Zealanders Roger Shepherd and Andrew Douch started on their 2007 Baekdu-daegan Expedition
on September 2nd at the area known to Koreans as Beobgyesa-ipgu in eastern Jiri-san National Park.
This is the main tourist-area of Jungsan-ri [Center-of-Mountains Village], at the eastern end of National Highway 20, in
Shicheon-myeon District of Sancheong-gun County of South Gyeongsang Province.  There are several motels,
minbak
home-stays, restaurants and shops there;  it contains a museum about the war against pro-North-Korean irregular-
fighters in Jiri-san 1950-1960, the
ancient and modern San-shin statues for Jiri's highest peak, and the trail-head for
the three-hour hike up to
Beobgye-sa Temple (1300 meters high).
the "2007 Baekdu-daegan Expedition Team" and a sponsor, L to R:   Korea Mountaineering League President
Shawn Morrissey, Expedition-Hiker Andrew Douch, ROK Ambassador of Tourism and UNWTO ST-EP Foundation Chairperson,
our would-be sponsor
Dho Young-shim, Expedition-Hiker Roger Shepherd and Korean Tourism Professor David Mason
Above us: the holy-mother-spirit of Jiri-san.     Yes, the first word on the banner is mis-spelled; "Backdu" should be "Baekdu"...
They will therefore trek through eight National Parks and four Provincial or County Parks
in nine weeks.  
Late on Sunday they achieved Cheonhwang-bong Peak (1915 m), which is mainland
South Korea's highest summit and is considered the beginning point of the
Baekdu-daegan Ridgeline,
which contains most of Korea's highest peaks and roughly half of its most sacred mountains -- and it
passes through part of every Province except for Gyeonggi-do, Chungcheong-namdo and Jeju-do.

As of Friday September 7th they have already transited the sections within Gyeongsang-namdo's
Sancheong-gun, Hadong-gun & Hamyang-gun , Jeolla-namdo's Gurye-gun and Jeolla-bukdo's Namwon
City.  They visited or passed by such cultural-tourism treasures as
Beobgye-sa Temple, Cheonghak-
dong Taoist Village, Chilbul-sa, Ssanggye-sa, Myohyang-am and Hwaeom-sa Temples, the Jiri-san Hot
Springs, Shimwon Village, and Juji-sa Temple (and of course many famous alpine peaks and passes).

In the next ten days or so they will transit  Jeolla-bukdo's Jangsu-gun & Muju-gun, Gyeongsang-namdo's
Geochang-gun and Gyeongsang-bukdo's Gimcheon City.  They will visit or pass by such cultural-tourism
treasures as Unseong-am, Sangwon-sa, Yeonggak-sa & Baegryeon-sa Temples and the Deogyu-san
National Park Summit (1614m).  They will enjoy the Temple-Stay program at the very famous Jikji-sa
Monastery, and then head on northwards up to Sogni-san National Park....
The Beobgyesa-ipgu site, on that cloud-covered, sometimes-raining morning of 2007.09.02
mountainside statue of Jiri-san's
Goddess (left) and us walking up
to it for the ceremony (below).
With the Korean Banner, L to R:  KyungHee Professor David Mason, Expedition-Hiker Roger Shepherd,
Dho Young-shim, Expedition-Hiker Andrew Douch and the KML's Shawn Morrissey.
Updated:  As the logos on our new T-shirts indicate, we were initially offered sponsorship-support by the
UNWTO Sustainable Tourism -- Eliminating Poverty Foundation and the Korea Tourism Organization ---
however, that support was cancelled at the end of the Expedition by the decision of ST-EP's Chairperson,
although the two hikers fulfilled their side of the deal by wearing these T-shirts throughout their adventure
of walking the Baekdu-daegan.  We were given a slight bit of media-coverage by Korea's MBC-TV, two
brief clips in local (provincial) news broadcasts.  We of the Expedition Team have been grateful for the
encouragement we have received from others such as
Korea Mountaineering League, the Korea Forest
Service and Korea's National Parks Authority.  The NPA even escorted Roger and Andrew on the final
week of their trek;  thanks also go to the Korean Army which permitted and escorted them to an "extra"
Baekdu-daegan peak (Hyangno-bong) near the DMZ.  The 2007 Baekdu-daegan Expedition intends to
serve as a good model of how already-existing natural, religious and traditional-culture resources can be
reconfigured and then leveraged into new tourism destinations which will attract more foreign tourists.
Korea Freedom League President Dr. Kwon Jung-dal (center, red towel) with some
local KFL members and some of the staff, here to wish the hikers a good journey.
Roger and Andrew actually begin their great Expedition, which is planned to take almost 70 days from
here at
Jiri-san to end with a trip to Geumgang-san after finishing the hiking at Seorak-san, in early November.
Wish 'em good fortune!
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