of the Baekdu-daegan
Mountain-System of Korea
The Baekdu-daegan Mountain-System main-line branches off into over a dozen major
earth-energy-lines that follow Korea's lesser mountain-ranges. Each of them channels
one of Korea's major rivers all the way from its main-line source down to the Yellow
Sea or the South Sea (and one, to the East Sea) and is called a Jeong-maek.
There are also many minor ones, branching from the Baekdu-daegan or from a
Jeongmaek Range, called "Gimaek" Ranges and these also branch off into "Jimaek"
Sub-Ranges. There are various different theories that can be found on exactly how
many branches and exactly which peaks they run through, from the scriptural
17th-Century "Sangyeong-pyo" Document and the monumental "Daedong Yeong-jido"
Map to the late 20th-Century "Shin-Sangyeong-pyo" [New Mountains Geological Chart]
and other geograpical works. These especially differ on the endings of the Jeong-
maeks and the but there is agreement on all the main points. Through extensive
study, I am able to determine the 13 Jeongmaek main-branches, as listed on this page.
In four cases, one main-branch proceeds west from the Baekdu-daegan Line, then
splits into two Jeongmaek Ranges. Three of these are fairly short, and named as a
combination of the two jeongmaek names. In only one of these cases, the
main-branch is long and important enough to be considered a jeongmaek in itself --
the #8 Hannam-Geumbuk-jeongmaek Range below. The other such situation, the next
one to the south, the #11a Geumnam-Honam-jeongmaek, should probably also qualify
in this way -- but by traditional designations, it doesn't.
Water never crosses a jeongmaek (just like the Baekdu-daegan itself), and they end at
the coastline, not continuing on off-shore islands.
The first of these Ranges, in the far-northeast corner of our penninsula, has a different
suffix-title: -jeonggan, because it does not channel any great river to the sea, but is the
source of many small rivers that run north into the Duman-gang River (Korea's border)
and southeast into the East Sea (a.k.a. Sea of Japan).
Most of Korea's highest peaks and roughly half of its most-sacred mountains are found
along the Baekdu-daegan, and these branches include most of the rest of
the others. All of Korea's major rivers begin on or near the main line, and then flow
between the branches -- most of the branches are named after their geographical
relation to and role in guiding those rivers (buk or nam, meaning north or south of).
Primary SOURCES for these listings:
1. The actual hiking of these ranges in South Korea by Roger Shepherd and Andrew Douch
2. Namhan San-gyeong-do map published in 2009 published by Wolgan SAN magazine, Seoul
3. “1 Daegan 9 Jeongmaek 1000 Myeongsan Jongju-jidojip” [Compilation of Crestline Maps of
One Great-Ridge, Nine Branch-Ranges and One Thousand Famous Mountains]. Volume of maps
published by Saram-gwa-san [People and Mountains] Magazine, Seoul, Korea in October 2009.
4. Shiljeon Baekdudaegan Jongju Sanhaeng, a book by Bang Sang-hoon, published by Choson-
ilbo-sa (the Seoul newspaper company) in 1997
5. Daehan-minguk 2005 Map of the Korean Peninsula, published by Jungang Atlas, Seoul
6. Doro-jido Choishinpan Jido-daesajeon, a book of 1:100,000 maps of South Korea, 2005 edition
by Seongji Munhwasa Publishers, Seoul.
7. Yeongjin 5-man Jido, a book of 1:50,000 maps of South Korea, 2006 edition by Yeongjin
Munhwasa Publishers, Seoul.
These sources each contain differing information, and contradict each other in
various ways, including the names, heights and exact locations of some peaks. I
have done my best to combine and reconcile those differences, to make it make
sense, in many hours of consideration of multiple sources.
In particular, some peaks are named "-bong" [peak] on some maps and "-san"
[mountain] on others; there is also the suffix "-dae" [platform, with a Buddhist
meaning] used for a few peaks. There doesn't seem to be any consistent rule for
which of those suffixes gets used (neither altitude nor distance from other peaks
seems to have much to do with it), and there seems to be no consistent system for
grouping peaks together as one overall "-san"; these seems to be only matters of
common usage. When in doubt, I have used "-san".
The mountain-ranges located in what is now North Korea pose particular
problems, as their names, precise locations and altitudes differ on the various
sources available -- we just don't yet have very exact and reliable information.
The Republic of Korea's new Romanization system has been used throughout,
even for the North Korean mountains, in order to match with contemporary South
Korean maps and websites, and in the interest of consistent accuracy.
I would welcome any corrections or suggestions for improvement for these listings.
|The 15 Currently-Most Sacred
Mountains on these 13 Branches:
(mostly in South Korea, due to our lack of info about the North,
especially modern conditions)
|The Baekdu-daegan represented artistically -- on left, as a plum-tree growing downwards,
with the main-rangeline as its trunk (this chinese character "gan" literally means the trunk of a tree
or body), with the Jeongmaek ranges as branches and Korean civilization as its flowers.