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My fear of heights is now fear of flash video
April 6, 2008 8:06 PM   Subscribe

The most dangerous path in the world. NSFA (acrophobics)
posted by stupidsexyFlanders (172 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite

 
ebaum? seriously? he is a notorious content-jacker and has been since approximately the dawn of time.
posted by blacklite at 8:14 PM on April 6, 2008 [11 favorites]


Holy hell. Please tell me that's fake.
posted by arcticwoman at 8:15 PM on April 6, 2008


Please for the love of all that is good, link to Youtube instead of eewwbaum.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:16 PM on April 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


No thanks. Do we get to know exactly where this is? (So I can stay far away.)
posted by binturong at 8:16 PM on April 6, 2008


Ok. That's pretty damn high.

OK. OK.

Gah!

JESUS CHRIST!

El Caminito del Rey El Caminito del Rey (The King's pathway) is a walkway, now fallen into disrepair, pinned along the steep walls of a narrow gorge in El Chorro, near Álora in Málaga, Spain. ... The walkway has now gone many years without maintenance, and is in a highly deteriorated and dangerous state. It is one meter in width, and has over a 700 feet fall. Nearly all of the path has no handrail. Some parts of the walkway have completely collapsed and have been replaced by a beam and a metallic wire on the wall. Many people have lost their lives on the walkway in recent years. After four people died in two accidents in 1999 and 2000, the local government closed the entrances. However, adventurous tourists still find their way into the walkway.

LiveLeak version of video (with voices and wind on audio)

Long video from YourDailyMedia
posted by maudlin at 8:17 PM on April 6, 2008 [10 favorites]


That doesn't look so bad. I mean, it's narrow and the hillside is steep, but it's not all that--WHAT THE FUCK! THERE'S A HOLE IN THE PATH!

Yep. Shitting myself from the comfort of my own home.
posted by ColdChef at 8:17 PM on April 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Halflife. Second part of "Surface Tension"
posted by sourwookie at 8:17 PM on April 6, 2008 [5 favorites]


For a little bit of background, the path that this was shot on is El Caminito del Rey, a path constructed for workers at the beginning of the 20th century. It is real, and it's fallen into disrepair as a result of its lack of use.
posted by invitapriore at 8:18 PM on April 6, 2008


Oh, rats.
posted by invitapriore at 8:18 PM on April 6, 2008


Oohhh Nooooes! Infarstrucure colapsing!!
posted by sourwookie at 8:19 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I see the potential for rail grind mishaps.
posted by Tube at 8:21 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fascinating.
How did they build it in the first place?
posted by Dizzy at 8:22 PM on April 6, 2008


Yeah, that whole video was so dystopic and downright video game like that I half expected some monsterous bug to jump out and try to kill me.
posted by piratebowling at 8:23 PM on April 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


Did anybody else laugh partway through when there's a railing!?

Oh, whew. A railing! Now it's totally safe.
posted by weston at 8:24 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think I'm going to pass out.
posted by inconsequentialist at 8:25 PM on April 6, 2008


OK. I'm not saying I would walk this path, because I can be chickenshit. But even though the concrete is rotting, the rebar looks OK, and often that does stay in good shape long after concrete is gone.

What gets me is the video'ing. It'd be one thing to walk the pathway, but quite another to do it while worrying about composing your shot.
posted by Miko at 8:25 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


That's scary if you're afraid of heights. But it's comforting if you're afraid of widths. [/Steven Wright]
posted by The Bellman at 8:25 PM on April 6, 2008 [30 favorites]


Neat. Thanks for pointing me to that.
posted by Dave Faris at 8:29 PM on April 6, 2008


How do you say "Squeeze my sphincter!" in Spanish?
posted by ericb at 8:30 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Charo"!
posted by Dizzy at 8:36 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


At first it feels like watching a video of a rollercoaster ride and it's fun in that thrill-by-proxy way, and then comes the gaping holes and decaying pipelines and then you realize you've just been tricked into trekking along up Goatse Mountain.
posted by bunnytricks at 8:38 PM on April 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Flagged as "links to that shithead Eric Bauman's website, ebaumsworld.com".
posted by Mikey-San at 8:39 PM on April 6, 2008 [7 favorites]


dude. just.......dude.
posted by CitizenD at 8:41 PM on April 6, 2008


They should have timed races around it.
posted by dobbs at 8:45 PM on April 6, 2008


either my gorge is rising or my arches are falling, i can't tell
posted by pyramid termite at 8:46 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Aw HELL NAW!
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 8:47 PM on April 6, 2008


I think I just puked my pants.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:48 PM on April 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Until I see some plaid-pantsed kid do a rail-grind to Operation Ivy's "Freeze Up" on that shit it ain't a real vid.
posted by sourwookie at 8:48 PM on April 6, 2008


If you look at the YourDailyMedia version, you can make out a safety wire attached along the rock wall, and people attaching carabiners to it. Which only makes it incrementally less terrifying. Incrementally.
posted by ambulance blues at 8:49 PM on April 6, 2008


There's some dissociation needed to deal with heights, I think. I lay on my belly at the edge of the Grand Canyon once, looking down. As long as I kept the thought of a strong wind at bay, I was fine; it was mind-staggeringly beautiful. When I finally edged away, and was safely away from the edge, I looked back at where I was, and only then did I think, "Holy shit, what was I just doing?"
posted by not_on_display at 8:49 PM on April 6, 2008


I would fall off, and feel stupid the whole way down for not leaving well enough THE FUCK ALONE.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:50 PM on April 6, 2008 [10 favorites]




I'm typing this on the way to the bottom.
Carabiners.
Now you tell me.

At least my iPhone still wor
posted by Dizzy at 8:53 PM on April 6, 2008 [21 favorites]


Which only makes it incrementally less terrifying. Incrementally.

No, actually, that makes it mostly comfortable. If you have every used a belay system, you know that it works really well. It makes all the difference in the world. Even were he to lose his balance, someone on the other end is counterbalancing his body weight, and he could lean against that while he refigured his footing. If he slipped and fell, he'd drop a couple feet before his anchor dropped their body weight and stopped the fall, letting him climb back up to a stable spot. I'm glad to know they were roped in, and since that's the case, the risk of a deadly fall is minimal - less than getting into a car and driving around your town for a few hours.

I dunno. I think of myself as afraid of heights, and yet I hike mountains, did plenty of high ropes course, and climb on square-rigged ships. And a lot of people do.This reminded me of some paths in Zion National Park, only it was earth instead of crumbling concrete. It's scary, yes. But on the other hand, if you think it's like extremely, beyond-the-pale, Fear-Factor worthy, -- even on belay, such a secure system -- maybe you need more adventure in your life.
posted by Miko at 8:56 PM on April 6, 2008


Me looking up: "There'd better be a blowjob factory at the top of this hill..."
posted by Cyrano at 8:57 PM on April 6, 2008 [12 favorites]


There's some dissociation needed to deal with heights, I think.

Yeah, I would say that's true. At some point you need to look at the stuff below and around and say "Wow, what a pretty picture. How interesting all that tiny stuff down there looks. Now, where do I put my feet, and where can I hold on with my hands?"

If you keep staring at the potential fall below your feet, internally screaming "OMG OMG OMG IMMANENT DEATH" it's far too easy to freeze and become rigid. Which, ironically, is less safe than remaining flexible and balanced.

The thing is, the human body is so good at seeking stablity.
posted by Miko at 8:58 PM on April 6, 2008


When I finally edged away, and was safely away from the edge, I looked back at where I was, and only then did I think, "Holy shit, what was I just doing?"

The city I live in has a 500 foot sandstone cliff running along one side of town. It's totally accessible to anyone, and in fact is considered a city park. I hate heights, but I walk along the paths there, taking pictures, and stay safely away from the edge. Or so I think. Until I step back toward my car and see other people walking where I just was and think "Oh, crap! What is wrong with me?!?"
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 9:00 PM on April 6, 2008


I don't know why, but when I'm confronted with exteme heights with little protective railing, it makes my scrotum tighten (yes, you're quite welcome to my sharing too much information).

I backpacked the 11-mile Kalalau Valley Trail along Kauai's Na Pali coast a few years ago. While not as daunting as the one in the video, it was quite scary enough, thank you very much. Rather than crumbling concrete paths, there were sloped dirt paths with crumbly, sun-baked soil that dropped off abruptly 700 ft above the ocean and narrow paths carved out of rock cliff faces with mountain goats above pushing softball-sized stones down for us to dodge. When we reached the Kalalau Valley, there were some park workers (who are helicoptered in to "work" on the trails, but spend most of their time watching the nude women on the beach there). We asked them why they don't fix the dangerous parts of the trail, and their response, given with a shrug, was "If you a hika, you a hika." Un, okay. They lose maybe 5 to 10 people a year on that trail.

Still, I look forward to doing it again some day. Go figure.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:02 PM on April 6, 2008


You are the 999,999th visitor to GRAVITY LAND! You've won 32ft per second2!!
posted by moonbird at 9:02 PM on April 6, 2008 [13 favorites]




I'm ok!
I landed on a pile of soft, fluffy quesadillas.
But I think I killed Antonio Banderas.
posted by Dizzy at 9:06 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


ColdChef: Yep. Shitting myself from the comfort of my own home.

What a waste of the nice, clean dressing gown mathowie gave you.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:10 PM on April 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


Is it strange that I should feel a sense of...anger that people would so cavalierly traipse along that path, taking zero precautions, and with a camera in hand, pausing to make "waaaaugh!" moves whenever there's a hole? I don't know why I should resent someone just for having less fear for their own survival in such a scenario than I myself would, but still, I just can't help but feel like such total disregard for personal safety must be a sign of some serious moral and/or psychological defect.
posted by anazgnos at 9:11 PM on April 6, 2008


yeah, now pyramid termite, that was insane
posted by Miko at 9:11 PM on April 6, 2008


Ebaums does suck, maybe a mod can change the links.
posted by delmoi at 9:13 PM on April 6, 2008


i think we have a winner

Wow, that's the most uniformly positively received page of YouTube comments I have ever seen.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:15 PM on April 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Is it wrong that I want to ride my bike down that?
posted by loquacious at 9:18 PM on April 6, 2008


still, I just can't help but feel like such total disregard for personal safety must be a sign of some serious moral and/or psychological defect.

And let me clarify that I'm talking about this one, where I saw no evidence of any harness action on the part of the filmers, and in fact they repeatedly brazenly edge past people who are doing the carabiner-based stuff...
posted by anazgnos at 9:18 PM on April 6, 2008


Oh man, that was TERRIFYING!

The music, I mean. The path looks alright.
posted by patr1ck at 9:18 PM on April 6, 2008


The thing is, the human body is so good at seeking stablity.

Yeah, so was my ex-wife, and that's why she left me.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:19 PM on April 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


anazgnos: the gal in the blue shirt appears to be wearing a hip belt with carabiner, and you can see her clip in at least once to a rope at waist level running along the wall.
posted by Miko at 9:23 PM on April 6, 2008


Ok, that's a high and narrow path, to be sure, but if you're on belay, I don't know that it's so bad.

Try the Mt. Hua Shan Trail, which I actually believe is the most dangerous widely used foot path in the world.
posted by dseaton at 9:23 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'd climb it, but only if Liam Neeson were waiting at the top to teach me how to be Batman.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:29 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


i think we have a winner

Holy shit. I was enjoying the video until I realized that those wondrous snow-and-rock surfaces were not *horizontal*, but instead *pointing quite a bit down*.

Also, that video links (eventually) to this page, which features all manner of fun, effusive extreme sports imagery and news, plus the headline "Mathias passed away last Friday while test flying a new glider in the Lötschental, Switzerland. Rest in peace my friend !"

The space between "friend" and the terminal exclamation point - and the fact that there is a terminal exclamation point - says it all.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:30 PM on April 6, 2008


The climb up Mt. Hua in Shaanxi is also a little hairy.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:34 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


One climbing newsletter gives an account including a local's advice: "When you get to the walkway you will see these cables. You must use your harness and a sling and a carabiner and clip into them. Please use these cables! They have been put there for a reason!"

This site says "Nowadays it is very damaged, and even some sections have fallen down, so the hikers must pass them balancing over a single metal beam above a one hundred meters void. This is not something to take lightly, in fact two hikers died in 1999 and 2000 by falling down. Currently the trail is geared for self-belay in the lower gorge by means of wires fixed with bolts. --Carlos."

Another newsletter mentions that a popular activity is to climb to the top of the mountain, rappel down to the walkway on belay, then climb back up (quite safe).

Here are technical logistics for climbing at the gorge.

I would agree that, in general, people who take unecessary risks in the outdoors are not to be admired. They just make work and expense for rescue teams and emergency personnel, and reduce access for the rest of us because of increased perception of liability. But I also think we're probably seeing safer practices on these videos.
posted by Miko at 9:37 PM on April 6, 2008


Miko: This reminded me of some paths in Zion National Park

Angels Landing Trail - Zion National Park
posted by netbros at 9:38 PM on April 6, 2008


Flagged due to eBaums.
posted by puke & cry at 9:38 PM on April 6, 2008


Until now, I was completely unaware of the hatred aimed at ebaums world. Foolish me--I thought it was a clever site with lots of interesting political and anti-war clips. Can anyone explain a little further?
posted by etaoin at 9:39 PM on April 6, 2008


Thanks netbros. Wish I could link to some of my photos from there - alas, they exist only on dead trees.
posted by Miko at 9:40 PM on April 6, 2008


Now, see, for some reason that ski gliding video did not freak me out at all. I thought it looked like a total blast. But the path video...uh-uh. No sir. When the video came to that first narrow bend my stomach lurched one way. And then when he walked the rail? Stomach tried to exit my body via my rectum.
posted by LeeJay at 9:45 PM on April 6, 2008


Until now, I was completely unaware of the hatred aimed at ebaums world. Foolish me--I thought it was a clever site with lots of interesting political and anti-war clips. Can anyone explain a little further?

At the risk of a derail: Eric Bauman, who runs the site, is notorious for "finding" content on the web, rebranding it "ebaumsworld.com" (including stripping watermarks and adding his own), and making shitloads of money from the operation without crediting anyone. He's basically a bottom-feeding git who is a millionaire because of the content of others.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EBaum's_World#Timeline_of_controversies

Also, this:

http://www.metafilter.com/46460/Ebaums-World-Sucks#1097957
posted by Mikey-San at 9:51 PM on April 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


As far as fear of heights goes this video of people on top of a crane IS TERRIFYING.
posted by zenzizi at 9:57 PM on April 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


I went on that thing in about 1998. I have a mild fear of heights. After holes started appearing in the concrete with a very long drop below, we eventually turned back. I couldn't see what was supporting the concrete, and I felt that if the concrete was falling like that, it could drop out on us at any time. We weren't climbers and didn't have any equipment.
posted by Xoc at 10:00 PM on April 6, 2008


As far as fear of heights goes this video of people on top of a crane IS TERRIFYING.

Oh my GOD. I was fine until the pullups started and then I had to turn it off.
posted by LeeJay at 10:08 PM on April 6, 2008


No. That's not the worst video for acrophobes.

Have you ever heard of slacklining?
posted by flatluigi at 10:11 PM on April 6, 2008


i personally enjoyed the comments on the ebaum:

gunny150 | Posted at 01:05pm Apr, 6 2008

fuck that


kkikkiki | Posted at 01:03pm Apr, 6 2008

fuck that shit


tkmonahan | Posted at 03:06am Apr, 6 2008

fuck that


etc, etc.
posted by [son] QUAALUDE at 10:26 PM on April 6, 2008


My wife and I walked part of the Camino Del Rey path in about 2001. We made it as far as the first hole big enough to stick my hand in. I felt like that was more than stupid enough. This video raises the stupid bar a few notches. I should add that there was a sign and a chain closing off the path well before the point where this video even begins, though one just has to step over it to continue.
posted by esome at 10:42 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Actually, this inspired me to look at my vacation photos. It looks like we stopped at the enormous hole where the climbers are harnessed in in the video. I can tell that just in the last 7 years the path has gotten noticeably worse.
posted by esome at 10:50 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I agree that the crane thing is one of the most terrifying, and profoundly stupid, things I've ever seen.

I am hoping that the backpack on that guy was actually a base-jumping type parachute.

I am quite afraid of (open) heights, and stuff like this awakens a very primal DANGER! response in my medulla oblongata. Just watching that crane video made me start breathing hard and fidgeting nervously.

However, the ski-flying or whatever didn't bother me much. I mean, the guy is wearing a deployed parachute. I don't see the immediate and inevitable threat to life and limb that the other videos show. Hitting the ground would have hurt, yes, but most likely not have been terminal, while the others were practically guaranteed to be deadly.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:51 PM on April 6, 2008




The ski-parachute thing is something I used to have very vivid, benign dreams about.

The walking a narrow twisty path: do not want. I've been in that kind of spot (partway out an old rusty railroad bridge over water, etc) and once I look down, I just freeze. I can't keep moving forward. Shudder.

(Thanks for figuring out that they're on belay, Miko, now I can avoid nightmares tonight)
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:07 PM on April 6, 2008


Ebaum link is best of web? *sob*
posted by Clave at 11:15 PM on April 6, 2008


Nope, not Weehawken. Here's a YT Video. (not mine)
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 11:24 PM on April 6, 2008


This reminded me of some paths in Zion National Park, only it was earth instead of crumbling concrete.

Angel's Landing, maybe? I remember getting to that part at the end where it falls away on both sides for 1400 feet, I just stopped and said "You've got to be kidding me." It took me an hour to get used to the idea.

But people do.
posted by weston at 12:07 AM on April 7, 2008


Odd. I think I have at least an average fear of heights, but none of the videos in this thread disturbed me in the least. The ski-gliding one actually looks like a blast. The path and the crane ones just make me shake my head in disbelief.

Of course, I know I'd be terrified if I were actually doing any of these things, but just watching the videos? Reading about the physical discomfort others are experiencing makes me feel like I'm missing out on something. Oh well.
posted by aqhong at 12:15 AM on April 7, 2008


Ah. Shoulda used preview. That's the place, netbros.

This photo and a few after it in the sequence are also good for capturing some of the feel of the trail.
posted by weston at 12:18 AM on April 7, 2008


As far as fear of heights goes this video of people on top of a crane IS TERRIFYING.

Being up on top of a crane is really neat -- it feels solid and stable and safe.

But when the guys started hanging off the bottom of the crane? My nuts tried to crawl back inside my abdomen and my toes curled up. That is beyond scary and way out into the stupid category.
posted by Forktine at 12:19 AM on April 7, 2008


Try the Mt. Hua Shan Trail
Thanks dseaton. Now I'm sitting in an office, bathed in sweat.
posted by tellurian at 12:27 AM on April 7, 2008


i personally enjoyed the comments on the ebaum:

fuck that

fuck that shit

fuck that

etc, etc.


Ebaum? That fuck!
posted by bwg at 1:41 AM on April 7, 2008


There's a fantastic - and terrifying - report about an unsuspecting westerner hiking the Mt Hua Shan Trail here. Scroll down the page for the full-on horror.
posted by freya_lamb at 1:46 AM on April 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


The crane one is just insane - pretty much literally. I felt fatigued just watching it, and found my brain slipping into a "it'd be so easy to just let go" state of mind which is what generally keeps me away from steep edges and long drops...
posted by benzo8 at 1:47 AM on April 7, 2008


I also went to the Camino del Rey in 2001, intending to walk the whole thing.

I turned up without ropes, harnessess, carabiners, or in fact any climbing ability or knowledge. I got a little way beyond the first enormous spiky fence with a terrifying warning sign. I decided sensibly not to try and jump the first large gap, between two wobbly sections of concrete, 50ft above a raging torrent of whitewater. In retrospect it's not something I regret wussing out of.
posted by roofus at 1:53 AM on April 7, 2008


BTW, I did notice on one of the final stills of the crane video (the shot of the football stadium), that there was a black armband on the left of the shot with (I think) "R.I.P. Julien" on it. There was no Julien in this video, but I guess a group of friends all have similar interests...
posted by benzo8 at 1:59 AM on April 7, 2008


Also for my money, the Mt Hua Shan Trail doesn't look quite as terrifying as the arête of the Vallée Blanche. It's a 2m wide, 100m long snow ridge, with the path tramped into slippery ice by the passage of hundreds of people wearing ski boots. It's a 2600m drop to the left, and about 800m to the right. If you want to ski the Vallée Blanche, you have to go down it first.
posted by roofus at 2:01 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


However, the ski-flying or whatever didn't bother me much. I mean, the guy is wearing a deployed parachute. I don't see the immediate and inevitable threat to life and limb that the other videos show. Hitting the ground would have hurt, yes, but most likely not have been terminal, while the others were practically guaranteed to be deadly.

There might not be an immediate risk of death, but people do die doing it. I know a guy who died last year whilst ski-flying in Verbier last year. Whilst airborne a gust of wind got him and smashed him against the cliff face. He was up there for several hours but nobody could get up there to save him.

And roofus, I agree about the Vallée Blanche, I walked down it last year, with crampons on my ski boots, but even so. It's an arse clencher for sure...
posted by jontyjago at 3:20 AM on April 7, 2008


Hmm. This place is about a 6 hour drive from here. I'm curious...
posted by slimepuppy at 3:36 AM on April 7, 2008


I think the crane video is the worse palm-sweater on the internet... though for me, some of Alain Robert's videos come close.

I don't mind cliff tops or anything like that (though I think I'd draw the line at crumbling concrete) but cable cars give me the jitters... that for me would be the worse part of Mt. Hua (not that I'm likely to test it out anytime soon)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:51 AM on April 7, 2008


That crane video is incredibly terrifying. I decided to watch all of it, and I did, but I had to do it in parts. I was actually squirming around on the couch while watching the pullup stuff, and my feet still feel chilly from the adrenaline.

But then again, I'm more afraid of heights than most people I know.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 4:53 AM on April 7, 2008


Wow. The fpp clip was something -- worth watching till the end. Though my slight dizziness on watching it is partly the frantic pace of filming.

That Eiger clip, though. I think I'm better off not knowing much about ski-gliding, cause while I think I know what would have happened had he touched down on rock instead of snow, I don't really want to think about it while watching that film. Fantastic, though. Wow.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:54 AM on April 7, 2008


And after watching the Japanese television report on the Mt Hua... I actually think the cable car would be the least of my worries - wooden boards, rusty spikes - forget that.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:55 AM on April 7, 2008


This whole thread is making me dizzy. Oh Me-Oh-My.
posted by maryh at 4:57 AM on April 7, 2008


Holy. Shit.

I'm taking the long way.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:19 AM on April 7, 2008


Can someone please post something in this thread that isn't terrifying. KTHXBYE
posted by Jofus at 5:24 AM on April 7, 2008


Not to compete, but I think this is sicker than the Eiger run or the crane stuff. If not sicker, then just really, really sick.
posted by sfts2 at 5:31 AM on April 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Weird. The crane video, as much as it was obviously stupid and dangerous, didn't do much for me viscerally, unlike the FPP video, which really did make me yelp "Gah!" and "Jesus Christ!". (That wasn't poetic license.) Maybe it was because so many people had already talked about how freaked out they were by the crane video. Or maybe it's because I could never see myself climbing a crane and doing pullups, but I could see myself hiking a fairly narrow path. So there was a lot more gut-level empathy with one situation versus the other. As the path got more and more decrepit, my reaction got stronger.
posted by maudlin at 5:33 AM on April 7, 2008


Is there a link to the source that ebaum stole it from? It sounds interesting, but he's not getting my clicks. He shouldn't be getting yours either, or your faves for that matter. Tsk.
posted by sidereal at 5:35 AM on April 7, 2008


sidereal, there are links to other versions in the first few comments.

Right. It's official. The French are fucking crazy.
posted by maudlin at 5:37 AM on April 7, 2008


sure.. but it's no bolivian road of doom! "One estimate is that 200-300 travelers are killed yearly along the road..."
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 5:56 AM on April 7, 2008


The holes in the concrete are giving me flashbacks of a bridge I had the pleasure of travelling over in Bangladesh last month. The passengers on the other side of the bus really didn't appreciate my slightly anguished cry of "FUCK, I can see the river through the bridge". The same people appreciated it even less when we were about to go back over the same bridge the next day ... "Hey, I think this is the bridge with the holes!"
posted by valleys at 6:02 AM on April 7, 2008


Not to compete, but I think this is sicker than the Eiger run or the crane stuff. If not sicker, then just really, really sick.

A while back I watched a television documentary about base/cliff jumping focusing on a few people who had just started the sport... put it this way, they weren't all alive by the end of the program.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:26 AM on April 7, 2008


That slacklining video was awesome. Awesome! Yes, I would be too scared to try it as they had set it up. But on the other hand, those guys looked like they had quite a bit of experience at it. Their control and balance was something amazing to watch - core strength all over the place. Also, their roping system looked fine, too.

Does anyone know who did the song in the video? It sounds kinda like Mott the Hoople.
posted by Miko at 6:49 AM on April 7, 2008


Never mind, just found it. Written by Ron Davies, recorded by David Bowie on "Ziggy Stardust."
posted by Miko at 6:50 AM on April 7, 2008


From Burhanistan's link: "Poo!"
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:26 AM on April 7, 2008


The slackline didn't bother me nearly as much as the crane video... or the Huashan pictures! It's the sense of being untethered that gets me. I felt much better about El Caminito del Rey once I noticed people can clip on a harness. I would get an enormous(ly irrational!) temptation to let go or just fall off. I can barely walk over a bridge without wanting to toss something over the side just to watch it fall down.
posted by kitkatcathy at 7:37 AM on April 7, 2008


At least my iPhone still wor



Dizzy is of course making a joke. No one can type a text message on an iPhone that fast.
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:44 AM on April 7, 2008


NSFA (acrophobics)

Okay, I'll admit it: I misread that bit, before watching the video, and was thinking wow there must be a lot of spiders on that trail...
posted by LordSludge at 7:52 AM on April 7, 2008


As far as fear of heights goes this video of people on top of a crane IS TERRIFYING.

Holy...fuck. My palms are literally sweating from a GODDAMNED YOUTUBE VIDEO! I also had to punch out when the dude started the pull-ups. WTF!
posted by VicNebulous at 7:55 AM on April 7, 2008


There's also free climbing without protection. Here's a speed climb video where the climber does a 400 foot climb in 4 minutes. See the move at 1:05 where he lets go with both hands and leaps up to the next hold.
posted by jjj606 at 8:27 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I finally watched the crane video, and my palms also are sweating. That guy has very little desire for self-preservation.

Here's more the kind of thing I'm familiar with from sailing. There's plenty to hold on to and clip in to, and still, it's really scary.
posted by Miko at 8:33 AM on April 7, 2008


I also had to punch out when the dude started the pull-ups

It's made all the worse because you can see he's not actually strong enough to pull himself up by his arms at the end.
posted by FuManchu at 8:37 AM on April 7, 2008


Holy cow, here's video of exactly the ships I did this on, with some crewmates whose butts you can see. I'll get to do it again in June.
posted by Miko at 8:38 AM on April 7, 2008


A video of someone rolling around in a bed full of tarantulas would be less disturbing than the crane pull-ups video. My heart is still making strange gurgly noises an hour after watching that.
posted by bunnytricks at 8:39 AM on April 7, 2008


Ok, I watched these damn things this morning and was completely freaked out. I get scared walking up stairs. The crazy part is that I keep coming back to WATCH THEM AGAIN!! What is wrong with me? My stomach hurts, my palms are sweating and I roll it again. I think I'm high on the adrenaline or something. Make it stop!!!
posted by pearlybob at 8:45 AM on April 7, 2008


speed climb video where the climber

Dan Osman, who perhaps not surprisingly, is no longer with us.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:46 AM on April 7, 2008


Adrenaline's one hell of a drug to get addicted to, huh?
posted by Miko at 8:51 AM on April 7, 2008


That crane thing just got me... I don't really have a problem with heights -- I enjoy climbing and flying, etc., but that crane vid was tough. The walkway had me squinting mainly because of the perceived speed with which the cameraperson was cruising that POS walkway. He/she even passed someone -- and those rail crossing were crazy. But the chin-ups without a net were nuts. Ever watch those old Buster Keaton films? That dude had a penchant for high places and insane antics. And there were no special effects back then.

Christ, there go my palms again.
posted by VicNebulous at 8:58 AM on April 7, 2008


Video adds a lot, but you don't even need it for the effect. This photo still gets me every time I study it.
posted by Miko at 9:17 AM on April 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Man, my heart is pumping hard. I totally want to go ski-gliding now, but the wingsuit? Lordy, no.
posted by goo at 9:33 AM on April 7, 2008


This photo still gets me every time I study it.

Oh yes... though for me, this is even worse. And looking for it I stumbled over this... I mean, WAAAAHH!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:35 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


so do they have sex up there or what?
posted by dopamine at 9:37 AM on April 7, 2008


That was awesome. I particularly liked how at about 1:54 there was some kind of rock formation near the bottom of the screen that looks just vaguely like some kind of giant demonic skull. It added to the video game vibe nicely.

Which only makes it incrementally less terrifying. Incrementally.

Miko : No, actually, that makes it mostly comfortable.

Agreed. Whenever I have to do work on the roof of my house, I used get freaked out because it meant getting the ladder, and I hate and distrust those things. When I finally realized that I can tie off on my chimney and use my old ropes, harness, and carabiners, I suddenly felt vastly safer, because I know how this equipment is going to behave. I feel more confident when tied off 120' in the air to a 3/4" or so rope than standing on top of a 12 foot aluminum ladder. Which, I suppose, is kind of stupid.

*watches crane video*

*shudders*

Ok, there is thrill-seeking and then there is stupid. Doing pull-ups off of the bottom of a crane? That falls in the latter category.
posted by quin at 9:39 AM on April 7, 2008


Ridiculous. Stuff White People Like should do a post about this whole thrill seeking nonsense.

What goes through your mind knowing that people died and the entrances have been blocked off? My first thought isn't, "I gotta do it." I would've been content just standing at the top, taking a pic, then moving on.
posted by quoththeraven at 10:07 AM on April 7, 2008


The crane thing has my palms seriously sweating, no shit.
posted by jquinby at 10:11 AM on April 7, 2008


There's nothing particularly white about thrill-seeking. There are a lot of ways to do it, whether it's playing chicken with a subway train, playing Russian roulette, or heck, enlisting in the armed forces.
posted by Miko at 10:13 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


There's nothing particularly white about thrill-seeking. There are a lot of ways to do it, whether it's playing chicken with a subway train, playing Russian roulette, or heck, enlisting in the armed forces.
posted by Miko at 12:13 PM on April 7


That's damn nearly profound Miko, considering it wasn't really applicable to the U.S. for the 30 years between 1972 and 2002.

During the 80's and 90's you probably had a better chance to be hit by lightning than killed in a combat operation.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:29 AM on April 7, 2008


Man, now I REALLY want to go work on a tall ship. That looks like ot's just plain fun!
posted by LeeJay at 10:32 AM on April 7, 2008


I really hope those crane boys' mammas never watch that video.
posted by you're a kitty! at 10:33 AM on April 7, 2008


Yeah, that one got me, too. but the crane, for some reason, leaves me quite calm (as I curse out the idiots, calmly.)

We obviously need more Mohawks in this thread.
posted by maudlin at 10:34 AM on April 7, 2008


I can't imagine actually risking your life to go there...wow.
posted by pixelmech at 10:44 AM on April 7, 2008


Not applicable? Huh? Who said you had to be killed? Military service is pretty damn thrilling. You must think I'm trying to make a political point about the Iraq war, but I'm just recognizing a fact: one of the reasons people enlist is for the adventure. The training you get, and the specializations you can choose, and the big powerful machinery you get to work with is just plain thrilling.

But even if you employed a narrow interpretation of my comment, you'd still have to take into account the fact that the US military had been running from1-2000 a year until the late nineties as a peacetime casualty rate even before the Iraq conflict. Some of those deaths were from hostilities, many from accidents. The US was involved in several conflicts between Viet Nam and Iraq, after all, and people died in every one of them. Not only that, but 1972 is too early a cutoff for Viet Nam casualties. The recently linked Interactive Wall reports 184 American casualities in 1973, 177 in 1974, 164 for 1975. In fact, there are casualties listed in the Viet Nam war until 1980.

As someone who comes from an Army family, I'd say there's plenty thrill in the armed forces.
posted by Miko at 10:48 AM on April 7, 2008


Oh, and it looks like 90 people a year, on average, are killed by lightning. So I think the military still wins for that aspect of thrill-seeking.
posted by Miko at 10:53 AM on April 7, 2008


DO NOT WALK!
posted by Mister_A at 11:07 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't remember my palms ever getting suddenly all sweaty, and when the crane pull-up video got my palms suddenly all sweaty, it caught my attention. Then in the thread I read about the sweaty palms of at least five other people. WTF human psychophysiology? Does it make any damn sense at all to get one's hands all slippery when (thinking of) dangling from a metal bar a hundred feet above ground?
posted by Anything at 11:17 AM on April 7, 2008


I mean, that seems like a very specific response, perfectly suited for the one thing that will get you killed. Sweat-check: Forehead? No; Armpits? No; Palms? Check! Have a nice death-fall!
posted by Anything at 11:23 AM on April 7, 2008


You raise an interesting question, so I was trying to Google up an answer and not doing too well. One site advanced the evolutionary argument that moist palms allowed apes to grip better when swinging on forest vines to escape. Errrmmmm....maybe. I can't really perform an experimental vine-gripping test right now to see whether wet palms grip better than dry on a vine surface. They do grip a little better on rope. But certainly when it comes to smooth, man-made, crane-like surfaces, wet palms don't help.
posted by Miko at 11:31 AM on April 7, 2008


No. Fucking. Way.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 12:02 PM on April 7, 2008


Miko: I wasn't trying to read too much into your comment, but I do think that thrill seeking has to have at least some component of real, tangible danger, almost by definition. I just thought your statement was kind of profound, as I remember in the 90's military service being sold as a stable, safe, dependable way of gaining experience for the job market.

I mean, reading an entire newspaper as fast as you can while drinking orange juice might be exciting to someone, but not really what anyone would normally call "thrill seeking".

I know the term is sometimes used in other situations, like someone cheating on their wife as "thrill seeking", but that's quite obviously not what we're talking about here. All the examples in this thread have clearly been death-defying, to varying degrees.

So yes, during peacetime one can have an auto accident whilst in the military, just as you can as a civilian.

That's not minimizing anyone's loss or contribution. But, scores of people die each year in ridiculous circumstances like taking a shower or getting into a hammock, nothing anyone would call "thrill seeking" at all.

Again, without trivializing anyone's suffering or sacrifice, I don't have stats at my fingers, but I would imagine that being a soldier, in the 30 years preceding Iraq II, would not even be in the top 5 most dangerous professions.
posted by Ynoxas at 12:13 PM on April 7, 2008


From fearful symmetry's wikipedia link above about Dan Osman, I found a great article/obit on him at Outside Magazine. It put the same thrills and scares in me, reading that, as watching the crane and path videos.
posted by Happydaz at 12:24 PM on April 7, 2008


Thanks Miko, the rope-or-vine-vs-metal point makes a lot of sense.
posted by Anything at 12:30 PM on April 7, 2008


I would imagine that being a soldier, in the 30 years preceding Iraq II, would not even be in the top 5 most dangerous professions.

The thing about the videos we're watching, with one or two exceptions maybe, is that they look death-defying, but there's no reason the activies need to result in death, given proper equipment and preparation. I see these activities as physically exhilerating, in the same way white-water rafting or roller-coaster riding is: yes, a few people a year might die doing it, but the thrill does not necessarily come from the fact that some people die doing it.

There are plenty of things in the military that are just as much thrilling fun as the sort of daredevil rock-climbing you see here. Rappelling from a helicopter on 5-millimeter tech rope. Rifle and pistol training. Constructing and climbing on rope bridges and observation towers. Learning to fly. Learning to shoot giant pieces of artillery. Detonating stuff. Steering enormous vessels in narrow channels. Mountaineering, hand-to-hand combat. Firefighting. Learning to secure an urban environment with planned ambushes. These are the kinds of things that I think are unquestionably thrilling, in the same way rockclimbing, paraskiing, or square-rig climbing can be said to be. Now and then, somebody's going to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and get hurt or killed. But for the most part, the activities are just ....thrilling. And it's for precisely that spirit of high, extreme challenge that people often are attracted to the military as a profession.
posted by Miko at 12:37 PM on April 7, 2008


[Nothing I said in defense of thrill applies to the crane video, apparently a safety-gear-free exercise in self-aggrandization, which is just the work of idiots. The guy was taking a risk not just with himself, but with the totally unaware and innocent people below. Had he fallen he'd have done damange - maybe crashing through somebody's windshield 500 feet below, taking out the occupants of the car or causing road accidents. When the impact of your stupid behavior spills over onto people who didn't ask for it, you've gone beyond exercising your own freedoms. ]
posted by Miko at 12:40 PM on April 7, 2008


At some point you need to look at the stuff below and around and say "Wow, what a pretty picture. How interesting all that tiny stuff down there looks.

I wonder, when people are afraid of flying, is it because they can't do this when looking out an airplane window?
posted by yarrow at 1:47 PM on April 7, 2008


For me it's not so much being afraid of heights as it is a fear of falling. *wipes sweaty palms on sweat pants*
posted by deborah at 2:30 PM on April 7, 2008


As far as planes, I went through a phase when I was a pretty scared flier, and it wasn't the height or the windows that freaked me out - it was being trapped in that cabin with a belt on, nowhere to escape to if things got weird. Also, not being the one in control.
posted by Miko at 2:43 PM on April 7, 2008


Re: people who are scared to fly.

I've often wondered, if they put an LCD screen into the headrest in front of you and let you view a forward facing camera (so you could see what was in front of the plane) if it would calm people down.

I, like Miko, am not a fan of flying because I don't like to surrender control. If I could see what was ahead, even if it was just clear blue sky, I suspect it would probably make me feel better.

posted by quin at 2:54 PM on April 7, 2008


Also, not being the one in control.

That's it for me too. That's also the reason why I'm not always completely comfortable as a passenger in a car.
posted by LeeJay at 3:47 PM on April 7, 2008


For me it's not so much being afraid of heights as it is a fear of falling.

Yeah. It's not so much the landing since from that height I imagine you don't have time to actually feel anything. It's the seconds between falling and splatting that I don't want to deal with. That's why I always make sure to eat a lot of fatty foods -- so that if I ever fall off the side of a mountain my heart will fail before I have time to really assess the situation.
posted by LeeJay at 3:50 PM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


sweaty palms? check. (for the crane video). fwiw i rock climbed and sky dived, so i don't have a big problem with heights. but the sheer risk of it is insane.

fascinating correlation between palms and heights, however. chalk is mandatory for climbers - perhaps sweating in palms is a natural response.
posted by olya at 4:51 PM on April 7, 2008


But when the guys started hanging off the bottom of the crane? My nuts tried to crawl back inside my abdomen and my toes curled up.

Exactly the same experience here. The fact that he could only barely lift himself more than a couple of times and let himself just hang, tired, with that much air underneath him makes it far more disturbing than some "x-treme" sport athlete that's tethered to a parachute.

Also, that link to the Mt Hua Shan Trail was similarly nut-retracting.

WTF CHINESE PEOPLE? R U FUKING SERIUS!?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:53 PM on April 7, 2008


Thanks, Metafilter, for curing my constipation.
posted by emelenjr at 5:05 PM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]



At the risk of a derail: Eric Bauman, who runs the site, is notorious for "finding" content on the web, rebranding it "ebaumsworld.com" (including stripping watermarks and adding his own), and making shitloads of money from the operation without crediting anyone. He's basically a bottom-feeding git who is a millionaire because of the content of others.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EBaum's_World#Timeline_of_controversies

Also, this:

http://www.metafilter.com/46460/Ebaums-World-Sucks#1097957
posted by Mikey-San at 12:51 AM on April 7 [4 favorites -] Favorite added! [!]
Thanks so much. I had no idea. Until now, I thought it was all his stuff and was particularly impressed by the antiwar compilations. Perhaps this explains why a couple of really good ones vanished from the site. Now I'll have to go find out who really did them.
posted by etaoin at 5:36 PM on April 7, 2008


Thanks, Metafilter, for curing my constipation.

Shit [literally]!

This group blog can be a new revenue stream for Matt. Watch out Correctol, Dulcolax, Ex-Lax and Phillips'!
posted by ericb at 6:12 PM on April 7, 2008


Exiting from a BASE jumping site, such as a cliff, or exiting from a helicopter or hot air balloon, is fundamentally different from exiting a moving aircraft as the initial wind speed upon exit is absent. In these situations a vertical drop using the forces of gravity to accelerate is required to generate the airspeed that the wingsuit can then convert to lift.

Ok, that makes me sick to think about, right there.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:10 PM on April 7, 2008


The Alain Robert was the scariest, hanging upside down by his toes off of a roof and climbing up cables and glass. Fucking Hell./ followed by the tough peak of Mt. Hua.
I'd be shaking like a leaf. View or no view. Great camping site though.
The crane hijinx queased me out. That's plumb crazy.

Miko, sailing those ships is dangerous. Bob Gainey [Montreal NHL team GM] lost his daughter recently. May have been washed overboard in a storm, never found. Our ex Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau lost one of his sons to an avalanche doing back country skiing.

I read a fascinating book on the subject of survival called 'Deep Survival-Who Lives, Who Dies and Why by Laurence Gonzales. Thrilling.

I prefer my thrills with a measure of control. Scuba diving [winter ice diving too], which feels like flying, but you aren't subject to down drafts like one may experience glacier kite skiing.

This has been a hella trip though some of the most beautiful places.
posted by alicesshoe at 9:44 PM on April 7, 2008


Also, that link to the Mt Hua Shan Trail was similarly nut-retracting.

WTF CHINESE PEOPLE? R U FUKING SERIUS!?
posted by Civil_Disobedient


C_D, that's the stuff of my nightmares. Literally. Finding myself in a horribly frightening situation that I have to get myself out of, then waking up in a cold sweat. Except those people weren't dreaming.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 9:45 PM on April 7, 2008


Miko, sailing those ships is dangerous.

Yes, I know. Every year or so someone dies in a fall from the rigging.
posted by Miko at 6:57 AM on April 8, 2008


Oh, and you were talking about man-overboard deaths. Those are actually a lot more common - but of course, they happen on little boats, too. I've been through a couple storms where we clipped into the rig when standing watch just to prevent that. It's very easy to see how it can happen when the lee rail is buried under rushing water. One slip across the deck and poof! -- you're half a mile away from the boat, maybe in the dark, and you have a long and largely unsurvivable wait until they come about and find you -- that is, IF they can find your melon-sized head in a vast expanse of gray water, in a storm.
posted by Miko at 7:00 AM on April 8, 2008


Yes Miko, I saw those Alaskan crab fisherman's work day on Discovery episodes. I'm shocked no one is strapped in.

Even recreation sailing ya gotta be aware. Love the feeling of a ship that size when the wind catches the sails though and the boat heels. I've experienced it on a 55 footer, good thing I didn't have to climb the rigging to set the sail.//

It's all about the focus just walking some of those craggy trails, but what a view.
posted by alicesshoe at 8:16 AM on April 8, 2008


I'm shocked no one is strapped in.

And it's for reasons like that that commercial fishing is the single most dangerous occupation in America.
posted by Miko at 8:43 AM on April 8, 2008


That video was awesome.

I found myself trying to make the screen scroll up so I could look around and I realized, then that I was way too into the video. I guess I'm so used to video games I got all caught up into it. I actually thought I could make the shooter change his angle.

LOL.
posted by benfitts at 10:05 AM on April 8, 2008


Something I've always wondered about that Rockefeller photo is whether they're really as totally suspended over nothing on that beam as it appears, or whether there is some solid structure underneath them, out of frame. In both cases, it seems like the reality could be at least slightly less harrowing than it looks from the way it was shot. Even in the crane video, from the angle, it seems like it's possible that it just looks like the guy has absolutely nothing beneath him.
posted by anazgnos at 10:10 AM on April 8, 2008


Good point, anazgnos. A little googling around identifies the building as the GE Building, under construction in 1932, and the workers sitting on level 69. The way it's cropped, without any surrounding supports, does add to the freak factor. Looking at some other construction photos, like this one, hints at what might be around them - and definitely would add to the feeling of security, if only a little bit.

The thought of leaning back just a little too far makes my toes tingle.
posted by Miko at 10:55 AM on April 8, 2008


Looking at some other construction photos, like this one, hints at what might be around them

Ah, but those lower floor support beams will only serve to impart a spin on any body that strikes them on the way down to the ground.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:23 PM on April 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ah, but those lower floor support beams will only serve to impart a spin on any body hat strikes them on the way down to the ground.

whatever dude i can make it
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:01 PM on April 8, 2008


How'd you manage to cut out the "t" in "that" when copy-pasting my post?
posted by Burhanistan at 3:14 PM on April 8, 2008


I recently read that Safety Last was done with the aid of clever angles and the clock was not 'that' far off the ground... but still impressive when you realize Lloyd was missing a thumb and finger off one hand
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:25 PM on April 8, 2008


How'd you manage to cut out the "t" in "that" when copy-pasting my post?

bounced off the lower floor support beam
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:52 PM on April 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


Dinner in the sky.
posted by aqhong at 9:00 PM on April 9, 2008


Dinner in the sky.

Oh dang, I've dropped my fork... but I think I've lost my appetite anyway
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:02 AM on April 10, 2008


Wow! That's kind of cool. I love the contrast betweeen the domestic normalness of the dinner table and the fact that they're hanging in air.

What if you have to go to the bathroom, though? I hope dinner is short.
posted by Miko at 6:35 AM on April 10, 2008


Look out below, Miko.
posted by Dave Faris at 8:13 AM on April 10, 2008


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