HOT 5 – GETTING HIGH
We’ve compiled five of the greatest, highest and scariest experiences from around the world when it comes to being a long way from the ground.
MOUNT HUA, CHINA
China has taken vertical tourism to new heights in recent years, from fake glass cracking bridges to lunches on the side of a cliff. The scariest of these is without a doubt the Plank Walk in the Sky experience at Mount Hua, dubbed ‘the scariest hike in the world’. We’re not arguing.
It is exactly what it sounds like: a series of wooden planks attached perilously to the side of a cliff, over 2,000 metres in the air. To reach the planks in the first place, you need to scale a steep vertical staircase dug into the rocks. There are some sections where the planks themselves disappear, with only foot supports carved into the rock.
Originally a walkway to reach a spectacular, if very inconveniently, located temple, it is now a magnet for absolute maniacs the world over. If you identify as one of those, we’re sure you’ll have a great time.
Some crazy person thought it would be a really good idea to put a glass box 3,842 metres up a mountain in France, and they were absolutely right.
The Chamonix Skywalk includes the descriptive 'Step into the Void' experience at Aiguille du Midi, where there is not only apparently nothing beneath you, but nothing in front or to your side either. It is as if you are floating in a void above mountains.
Just don’t look down.
The Caminito del Rey (King’s Little Path) was built in 1905 to give hydroelectric power plant workers access between two waterfalls. As far as walks to work go, this one takes the cake.
Traversing the gigantic vertical cliff of a narrow gorge in the Andalusia mountains of southern-Spain, this one metre wide, 100 metres high trail was surely one of history’s most difficult trails to build. And while there was a spate of hiker tourist deaths here at the turn of the millennium, the Spanish Government spent four years and AU$771 million making this into the safe cliff walk that it is today.
If you manage to lift your head up, you’ll be rewarded with sensational views of the turquoise coloured Guadalhorce River, which snakes its way dramatically down a narrow mountain ravine. Awesome.
The Glacier Skywalk in Alberta’s Icefields isn’t quite as precarious as some of the other, slightly sketchier experiences on this Hot Five list, but it’s probably the most beautiful.
In the shape of a horseshoe, and right in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, you get 360-degrees of nature's glory in the form of ice-capped mountain peaks and epic, glacier-formed valleys.
The Rocky Mountains are nothing short of majestic, and this is the best place to see them, bar none.
NEW YORK CITY, USA
Like the rest on this list, your reaction to the City Climb at The Edge is either “that is epic” “NOPE”... or more than likely, a little bit of both.
The Edge is based at Hudson Yards, a 365 metre high building in Manhattan, New York. After scaling the outside (you read that correctly) of the building, climbers lean out and lean off the highest outdoor deck in the Western Hemisphere, with nothing but New York air beneath them.
The Big Apple has never looked so good.
The Téléphérique de l’Aiguille du Midi, which is the cable car that ascends to the top of Aiguille du Midi, was built in 1955 and still holds the record as the highest vertical ascent cable car in the world, from 1,035m to 3,842m.