The next time Grandpa grumbles about having to walk uphill to school every day, whip out this pic and show his ass what “uphill” truly looks like.
What you’re seeing above is the single route to get to Atuler, a clifftop village in southwest China. What you’re also seeing is children as young as six years old making the nearly half-mile ascent home via treacherous paths and that rickety-ass wooden ladder. It’s as scary as it looks; a reporter dispatched to the village reportedly burst into hysterical tears while attempting the climb (admittedly, tears are one of several liquids we’d burst into, were we to try). Meanwhile, the village’s schoolchildren regularly and fearlessly pull off this 90-minute reenactment of Cliffhanger, with heavy book bags in place of Stallone’s weighty pecs.
Atuler is home to a mere 72 families, most of whom make their living farming chili peppers. Though by the villagers’ own tally, they’ve “only” tragically lost seven or eight of their number to the murderous, greedy hand of gravity, many more have been horrifically injured by falls, and this combined with recent media attention spurred the Chinese government to make the climb safer. They did so by replacing the homemade (and oft-rotted) wooden ladder with a much sturdier (but equally terrifying) metal one, because no one ever said that safety couldn’t be accompanied by shitted pants.