Last time I visited the crater of Mount Halla (Hallasan) it was using crampons through snow and ice. This time it was a little different.
5.30 we started the walk up. We being Ali and myself. 5.30 is actually Too Bloody Early, But in reality the alarm clock rang at 4 am. I of course was extremely prepared as I had gone to bed at my usual time of just after midnight.
Still, I struggled out of the pit, donned my shoes, determined that even at four fucking thirty it wasn't cold enough to warrant anything more than a tee-shirt and shorts.
I had already been warned by Ali that this was going to be a Quick Walk, and would that bother me. I reminded her that we had already done Halla together :-) To be fair, she did set off at a right old pace. The only problem was that when it came to the stairs and the steep bits, I forgot to slow down!
Getting to the shelter 15 minutes ahead, I had ample opportunity to try to capture the stunning sight before my eyes...
What you see there are lots of mini "parasitic" volcanos known locally as "Oreums". They are all hiding in the mist. It was worth getting up at early o' clock just for that, and I had a thought of 15 souls in the staff room about to watch England get beat!
With Ali in sight, I took off again for the final hike up to the crater. Again my legs were in overdrive.
And finally, legs getting tired, I reached the top. And again, the mist made things wonderfully surreal...
By this time, I think England had lost their game, but I did't care... I was on top of the world!
Funnily translated signs on the trail. There are more English words here than I can speak Korean...