Kolon Sports Ice Palace: Climb Ice Like a King All Year Round

Want to get your ice climb on in an exotic, slightly bizarre place?  Try the Kolon Seoul Ice Palace. Also, lovingly

Kolon Sports Ice World. Ice climbing in a giant freezer. The far wall on the right side goes about the roof up to 60m. Photo copyright Genevieve Hathaway.

referred to by the South Koreans as the “Multi Leisure and Mountaineering Culture Center for all Alpinists.”  It’s the only indoor ice facility (with real ice) in the world.  It’s basically a 60m tall freezer.  Yes, that’s 2 pitches in an ice box!

Slip on your climbing boots. Snap on your crampons.  Tighten the buckles on your harness.  Slip your ice tools into your caritools on your harness like a gunslinger slipping his guns into his holsters. Straighten your helmet.  As you walk forward you hear the clink of metal, your tools swinging from your hips.  You reach your hand out and turn the handle on the restaurant grade deep freezer door, then stride into a room filled with ice.

Entering The Deep Freeze. Time to get our climb on! Kolon Sport Ice Palace, Seoul, South Korea. Photo copyright Genevieve Hathaway.

Everywhere you look there is man-made ice.  Pillars of ice, mixed climbing routes constructed from strange ice formations and wood logs, short ice walls and long 60m ice pitches. The walls are all WI4, just varying in length and features and some sections are even slightly overhung.

Don’t expect though grade A Waterfall Ice.  These walls are well loved.  You can practically fist jam your way up the climbs the picked out holes are so big.  There are even many walls that you can lead if you so desire.

The ultimate reward of the Kolon Ice Palace is climbing ice all year round in one quite unique setting.  Pretty soon, you’ll be wanting to install one of these in your house….when you win the lottery.

60m of pure freezer ice. Kolon Sport Ice Palace. Seoul, South Korea. Photo copyright Genevieve Hathaway.

The South Koreans showing us how it's done. Kolon Sport Ice Palace, Seoul, South Korea. Photo copyright Genevieve Hathaway.

Details:

Gear: The ice gym provides ropes for all routes and if you want to lead.  They also have gear rentals if you need to rent crampons, boots or ice tools.

Cost: 20,000 won for 3 hours.

Hours of Operation: Weekdays 10am-9pm, Weekends 10am-8pm

Directions: *Note it’s former name was O2 World.  It’s just been purchased by Kolon.  So when asking for directions some Koreans may still know it as O2 World.

Map of the Kolon Ice Palace. (Formerly called O2 World)

By Bus: Take bus 120 Bus .  Tell the drive Ui-dong, Doseonsa Ip-Gu, Green-park (우이동 도선사입구 그린파크).  It’ll drop you off on the gear shop road (it’s full of gear shops) to Insubong.  Kolon Ice Palace is on the right hand side about 100m up.

Website: http://www.o2o2.co.kr/eng/ice_climbing/ice_01.asp

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~ by Genevieve Hathaway on March 7, 2011.

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