I wonder if at some point in the process these folks stopped to question some of their life choices.
1. Mount Huashan
Considered simultaneously one of the most dangerous and one of the most popular ascents in China, the trek up Mount Huashan is nerve-wracking from start to finish. You’d think that near-vertical staircases and narrow rickety wooden footbridges would be great reasons not to go, but that doesn’t stop hundreds of tourists and locals alike from attempting the hazardous trip all the time.
2. Hussaini Hanging Bridge
One of the most dangerous bridges in the world, the poorly maintained but heavily used Hussaini Bridge was one of the only ways to cross Borit Lake in Northern Pakistan. I say was, because it seems the bridge succumbed to the elements in 2011, but has probably been rebuilt (and we can only hope the new one can inspire more confidence in its stability than the one seen here).
3. Aukland Sky Tower
It takes a special kind of person to go 630 feet up to the observation deck of the tallest manmade structure below the Equator, and think: “Gee, I’d really like to jump off this right now.” Yet, the tower hosts bungee jumps daily for scores of thrill-seeking adrenaline junkies. And while I’m sure it’s perfectly safe (since Grandma and Beyoncé have both done it), personally I’ll just stay on the ground rather than being the one to meet it the hard way.
One of Norway’s most popular outlooks spots, Trolltunga (Troll Tongue) is one of those outcroppings that’s just asking to give way. I mean, think about it– it was formed by glaciers chipping away the rock tens of thousands of years ago. How many years does it really have left?
5. Mont Blanc Box
Ever wanted to stand on a piece of glass 12,604 feet above lots of sharp and pointy rocks, near the peak of Europe’s tallest mountain? Yeah, me neither. But hey, at least glass is known for its structural integrity and resistance to breaking, right?
6. Devil’s Pool, Victoria Falls
How far would you go for a picture? Would you go all the way to Victoria Falls, the stunning 355 foot cascade in South Africa, and risk your and your tour guide’s life, for a shot that looks like you’re about to die? Because despite the fact that people actually do die occasionally for the famous shot, that doesn’t seem to be stopping anyone.
Gravity is a harsh mistress, and when she finally brings down this famous rock perched 3,245 ft in the air between two other rocks in Rogaland, Norway, I’ll likely be far, far away.
8. Villarrica Volcano
Active volcanoes sure are pretty, but I have never had the urge to get up-close-and-personal with one. Let alone jumping out of a helicopter into one, while placing my life in the hands of a bungee cord tied to said helicopter. But apparently people are really into the idea, their fears assuaged by this gem in the company’s FAQ: “Could I die? Yes. You could. You’ll be signing a waiver, so we’re cool.”
9. Yungas Road
Perfectly unassuming, this Bolivian road is nicknamed “The Road of Death,” largely due to the hundreds of lives lost there annually (mostly from heavy traffic on the extremely narrow and poorly maintained roads). Since it’s been dubbed “the most dangerous road,” traffic has only increased thanks to and influx of tourists more daring than I.
10. Stolen Chimney, Fisher Towers
Possibly one of the most precarious peaks in the world, this summit in Moab National Park in Utah is a prime example of people climbing stuff just because we can (in spite of the fact that the tower looks like it might fall over if just you look at it funny).
11. Arctic Cliff Face
12. Cliffs of Moher
This terrifying unofficial bike trail in Ireland showcases the “Cliffs of Insanity” as seen in The Princess Bride. Personally, I think the insanity is mostly apparent in those who choose to ride the path that rarely gets any wider than 4 feet, on a cliff that is continuously crumbling.
13. Trift Suspension Bridge
330 feet in the air, 560 feet long, and about 3 feet wide are the dimensions of the Trift Suspension Bridge in the Swiss Alps. The views are supposed to be incredible… just as long as you don’t look down.
14. Huayna Picchu
The view of Machu Picchu from the summit of Huayna Picchu is a vantage most will never see, but getting there can be quite treacherous. Between perils like unkempt trails, near-vertical staircases, and altitude sickness, even the guides proceed with caution (as many have died tragically over the years).
15. El Caminito Del Rey
The “Little Pathway of the King” was built in 1905, and had very little repair work done until just this year. As a result, many a bold traveler had braved everything from sections where the path is reduced to just the support structure, to swaths of path that have completely disintegrated altogether.
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