New Zealander Attempts to Hike North Korean Range

Attempting to bridge the gap

Jul 30, 2013
Outside Magazine

   Don O'Brien/Flickr

A former cop hopes to be the first person in modern memory to hike the Korean peninsula's 870-mile mountain range, the Baekdudaegan, which runs from North Korea's border with China to the South Korean coast.

According to an article in the New York Times, Roger Shepherd, from New Zealand, is the first foreigner to hike in the remote mountains of North Korea since the division of North and South Korea. The 47-year-old plans to return to North Korea in August in hopes that the two countries will let him cross the demilitarized zone.

Mr. Shepherd's ambition draws upon the near-religious reverence Koreans feel for Baekdudaegan, and for Baekdusan, its tallest peak at 2,744 meters, or about 9,000 feet. The South Korean national anthem opens with a reference to Baekdusan. North Koreans calls themselves the "Baekdusan nation."

"Koreans often say that mountains are part of their DNA, part of who they are,” Mr. Shepherd said in an interview. "When I talk about mountains in South and North Korea, people just ease up and talk about a subject that has no enemy."
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