2012 Expedition of Mountains of the Baekdu Daegan in North Korea

Roger Shepherd standing in front of Paektusan

In the wet months of June and July, I spent six weeks with the Pyongyang members of Korea-New Zealand Friendship Society travelling around the northern provinces of Yanggangdo, Hamgyeongbukdo, and Hamgyeongnamdo. Our purpose was to attain photographic images of a selection of mountains on the Baekdu Daegan.

The Baekdu Daegan is the main mountain spine of the Korean Peninsula that stretches for about 1700km from Korea’s holy Paektusan Mountain to Hallasan Mountain in southern Korea. I am producing a photographic journal that will highlight this sacred mountain chain – the first time the two Koreas will feature in a book connected by mountain, of which the Korean people have a huge common reverence for.

Despite sometimes hard and damp conditions, the team containing Secretary General Hwang Sung Chol, Hwang Chol Young, and driver Han Myeong Soo, had a successful journey of which all mountains targeted were ascended, bar one, due to flooding monsoon rains. We spent a lot of time traveling very remote parts of the country, sleeping in our seven man tent, cooking over open fires, and generating good friendships and memories with local people. It was a fascinating experience for all of us.

The 35cm x 26cm 200 page pictorial journal will be published in hard cover on fine matte art paper of a heavy 150 or 180gm weight. It will be of the finest quality with what little text/captions it contains printed bilingually in Korean and English. I plan to have it available by April 2013, it will be distributed and sold independently by my company Hike Korea.

This was my fourth visit to DPRK in one year, totaling some 3 months of travel. I would like to take the opportunity to thank members of the  Societies in both countries for their trusted support and belief in this idea. Special thanks must also go to the unheard – the mountain people of the Baekdu Daegan in both Korea’s.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Okryunsan, Bucheon-gun, Yanggangdo

Roger Shepherd


   Baeksan Pyeongannamdo


Baeksan Pyeongannamdo


Photo Exhibition Auckland 17 March 2019

Trekking on sacred Paektusan highlands

Mountain Diplomacy in North Korea

Radio NZ Interview April 2018



BBC:     http://vimeo.com/62225815