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Defying Death; a treacherous hike

November 21, 2010

I was wondering the net without much to do when I came about the most dangerous hikes in the world. These locations have been places where people have lost their lives. Naturally, youtube has some of these places on video. Hiking is fine, it’s when you might actually die that makes you stop and think “what the!”. I remember when I was rappelling a 30 foot tower, I was climbing on some latter (no gear or cables) when I suddenly stopped and kind of looked down and said “if I fall, I could die”. And this wasn’t an ordinary common latter, this was a splintery wooden structure that was too wide (I’m 5’3 short) so I had to put my knees on every step to pull myself up …it’s weird to explain. Anyways  that was only 30 feet and the ground was semi-protected by a mooshy cushiony cover (though it would still hurt to fall, and you could still die if you plunge on your head or neck gets broken). I can’t imagine people who go climbing 7,000+ feet on Mount Huashan in China or Caminito Del Rey in Spain.

Now, at first I thought that at Mt. Huashan there were no harness cables but recently found out there were, which makes it safer, same for Caminito Del Rey in Spain, you can wear the cables and survive a fall. Though even with a harness it would hurt like well…like (edit) to fall to be honest.

Now, the wonder of Mt. Huashan is that it’s so steep, so deadly and yet, sages of the ancient Taoist religion managed to climb it, carve caves out of the mountain and built temples. Mind you, this is in the 2nd century BCE aka before the common era. Not using ANY modern equipment, any climbing gear. How on earth did these people, in robes and sandals, I imagine, go up and down a 7,000 foot mountain to build temples. How did they get wood and tools and deity statues up this monstrous structure? It amazes me. Not to mention that these buildings and caves have survived centuries and now, in the present years this is a tourist attraction. Tourists and locals alike go to this sacred mountain and defy death, reaching the top. I discovered that harnesses are required which is VERY sensible, however I have been reading some stories of Huashan climbers who “claim” they were not wearing a harness, so who knows.  No deaths have been reported from Mt. Huashan but people remain skeptical considering the tight Chinese government controls on any news, it is very likely that climbers have perished to this monster. One must admit that the relics found in the caves on Mt. Huashan are in simple words, amazing. The view is extremely beautiful but your focus must be on not falling…leaving you to wonder is it worth it? How about that plank walk, yes there is a section where you merely walk on an old looking wooden plank, no more than 2 feet wide and holding onto a chain…one wrong move and game over. At least if you do climb Mt. Huashan you can say you’re the only Huashan walker in your village so it looks promising. Anyways, I will post some pictures and videos of Mt Huashan later, up next Caminito Del Rey.
* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Hua

Caminito Del Rey is located in Spain, built turn of the century for mining purposes. Only rising about 350-400 feet I’d say, a much needed relief from Mt. Huashan’s 7,000 feet.  Unlike Huashan, Caminito Del Rey does have some confirmed fatalities. This structure was made with the purpose of transporting materials to and from the locations the miners worked. Today, it is reminiscent of a nuclear warfare movie scene. The roadway would only take about 6-7 minutes to cross on a steady pace…however this is where things get interesting…

The old path is now crumbled, some of the road that rises feet over earth has holes, that’s right holes in the middle of a road 400 feet above. Which makes me wonder, 1. why are there holes here and 2. hundreds of tourists walk over these roads with holes up above hundreds of feet in the air would these not just crumble as people walk over them? But that’s not the worst part, some areas don’t have roads at all, just roadless sections where you would balance yourself to cross a steel beam. To loose your balance to a gush of wind, to human error, to distraction, to heavy backpack weight getting the best of you, one could fall to a rocky death. Unless of course you are connected to a harness and cables, to which you would probably fall on the beam between your legs. You wont die, but your future children will so either way…this a bitch to climb. (and ladies I doubt you would want to have kids once you fall like this).  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caminito_del_Rey

So the question is….would you? Could you? Would you climb these structures without a harness. If one day, you are out having a drink, and a strange fellow came to you wearing a black robe and uttered to you a deal “cross these structures without a harness and cable (knowing you have a 50/50 chance of dying) and you will never have to work another day of your life….” would you say yes?

Pictures follow….scroll all the way to the bottom for some awesome videos.

Mt. Huashan:

Good you can actually see holes of death between the planks

Caminito Del Rey

Steady as she goes.

Videos:

————————–Short short few second long videos for the impatient ones —————————

Only 57 seconds on Huashan

61 seconds in Camino Del Rey

No way on earth

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From → Just Random, Travels

3 Comments
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