I love getting out and going mountain climbing, which is one of the reasons I recently climbed Bulamsan. Besides the fresh air and ability to meet random people, it is particularly good exercise when coming back down the mountain.
The person climbing with me did not want to go all the way to the top, saying it was too dangerous. I think he was more tired than anything else. Most of the danger comes from people themselves on the mountain, not paying attention to who is going up or down at the same time they are.
It was raining lightly, off and on, but I decided to go ahead to the summit. Near the top, the ground was almost entirely made of rock. In some places, other climbers stopped to help boost people/let them down softly. I was carrying a bag with my camera and a few other necessities. When was about 3 metres from the summit, my bag handle broke. Though my items were upside down, there was enough friction inside to prevent my belongings from falling out and bouncing off over cliff I was climbing at the time.
That was bag failure number one of the week. Number two, I was shopping, but also lucky. The bottom of the bag fell out. The items made contact with the semi-dry glue as they fell through, and thus did not hit the ground that hard. Without me even needing to ask, a Korean man immediately came up and pulled out an extra bag from his own and gave it to me. I’ve found that Koreans often are on the lookout for ways to help others, even if they are not asked.
In these cases though, and with the colder weather coming, perhaps I should simply buy a small backpack or messenger bag that will be more robust. They only cost a few thousand won here.