It is well said that “the best view comes after the highest climb.” Don’t you think that this is very true? What was the best view till now in your life you have experienced?
Adventures are part of life, or let’s put it another way: Life itself is an adventure. There are many beautiful places with their own specialty. But there are few exciting and adventurous people who dare to choose the mountains. Are you among them? Do you like to travel ad hike towards the top of the mountain to make you feel satisfied, proud and enjoy the best ever view? I am one of them and like to travel mountains. There are many hikes which are very adventurous and also most dangerous. No matter what, but champs dare to do start that hiking, even if they are unable to complete, die, could not reach to the edge, or deep freeze in such cold. Their body becomes unbearable to this cold exposure. But there exist such brave souls who dare to start for the pursuit of such unexplored places and enjoy the beauty of wonderful nature.
Elements that make hiking dangerous:
Hiking is basically long, vigorous walks on the mountains which consists of the routes that are not well constructed, or sometimes through the wild forest along with crossing wildlife, and are very much prone to natural calamities like volcanic activity, mudslides, rainfall, snowfall, rockslides, etc. The mountains are inclined and have steep slopes.
Many brave hikes, other than the above-mentioned elements, have lost their lives while hiking due to extreme weather conditions, heart attacks or some unlucky natural falls.
Other than the factors mentioned above, there are few other risks which make it more dangerous and becomes a bottleneck for the hikers to proceed. If the hikers travel from the routes, like via-ferratas, usually in alps, which includes designed path for hiking and some equipment. In these cases, there is another risk of failure of equipment or some human-made errors. Thus is clench the hikers. If you think, you are ready and can resist these dangerous hikes, be prepared and don’t forget to follow the local people around and all the safety measures with warnings.
Here comes the list of the world most dangerous hiking trails
Mt. Washington, USA
I hope you have heard about “Home of the World’s Worst weather” Observatory in Mount Washington in New Hampshire. It is a very true and fair name given.
This Mountain is said to be the highest peak in the Northeastern United States at 6,2882.2 ft. Not just this, it is the most topographically prominent mountain east of the Mississippi River.
The path that leads to the top of the mountain is mostly covered with a blanket of snow and most prone to Blizzards. It is no wonder or surprises that the temperature goes below -45 degrees F, with 100 mph speed of the wind. The last time when it the speed of wind even went till 231 mph was 1934 and from that time it is considered to be the highest speed of wind inside tropical cyclones.
Even after these hazardous conditions, there are people who dare to start the hike and setting a target to reach a peak with nothing but just a minimal pair of clothes on their body.
The weather never remains the same, from the time you start the hike and move higher. The weather here at Mount Washington is so illusory that you might start with a sunny day and with the blue sky which takes no time to turn to all black clouds with rain and then moving towards the blizzard. The trail is misleading to the stormy paths. The New Hampshire Fire Marshal’s office is very much keen about one thing of the hikers who try visiting the Mount Washington, should be capable to move out from that region without any help provided and should be self-protective. This is because they are aware of the climatic conditions which take no time to change.
Death rate has reached to 150 people while hiking to Mount Washington because of the freezing cold, falls, avalanches and many other weather conditions, but still, some dare not to listen and keep on hiking.
Chadar Trek, India
Another Astounding experience could be at Chadar Trek which has another name as Zanskar Gorge. It is located in Jammu and Kashmir, India in the Zanskar region of Ladakh. The trek passes through the deep-frozen Zanskar River which is located at the edge of the Himalayas. This trek, with no wonder, will be one of the most stupendous treks you will ever experience in your life. The trek consists of iced waterfalls and steep slopes reaching to the heavens.
Before a couple of years ago, this dangerous and daring trek gained the popularity but in a disrepute manner, and then suddenly trekkers started converging here from all different parts of the world. Chadar Trek had become one of the must-to-do things in their Bucket List.
The trails here are covered with ice and snow and thus behaves like a blanket. Trails, in Chadar Trek, are approximately 600 m high and are steep vertical cliffs, whereas Zanskar River is only 5m. If we come to the total distance to be covered for the trek to be completed, then it is 105 km, which is covered in parts of 15-16 km per day by Average Trekkers. The temperature here goes till -30 to -35 degrees during the best season for visiting the Chadar Trek i.e., January to February. It is approximately a week-long trek, which includes walking on the frozen trails, stay in the caves at night and many more new experiences. Trekkers sometimes also lose the balance while walking over the stones, when there is melted ice on the way, and thus water stays.
In order to increase tourism and make ease of access to the hikers, the Indian government has taken the initiative to build the roads throughout the area and it is under construction. The road will be having connectivity between Leh and Zanskar for all the days in the year. The construction is expected to be completed in a couple of years. So don’t just think, but plan and go to enjoy the glorious nature and wonderful wildlife around it. But, if you have set up your mind to finally go for hiking on this trek, then remember to a responsible tourist and have practice sessions prior to it.
The Darien Gap, Columbia/Panama
As the name suggests, the Darien Gap is a long break between Panama’s Darien Province, located in Central America and the northern region of Columbia’s Choco Department in South America. The gap is approximately 66 miles long, which is a huge distance.
There is very less possibility to construct roads there for the hikers to hike, since it would be very expensive and also not feasible since there are mountains more and boggy ground. Thus the only way for the hikers to get over it, step by step, that is via foot.
Darien Gap is in the bucket list of many hiking lovers or hikers who are adventurous and are not afraid of taking risks. Since this trek is considered to be one of the most dangerous journeys in the world, it requires a lot of courage for a hiker to go there. Apart from hikers, there are many seekers or immigrants who hope to reach the US and get home.
The path of the trek and cliffs is not at all easy and one has to cross many hurdles all over the trail. In fact, the row doesn’t even have signs to cross through and the hiker will have to put himself in the danger zone of rainforest, jungles, swamps, mountains, and rivers including the natural calamities like a flood that takes place on the way.
There are risks of many dangerous species while passing through all the jungles and forest and even in water, like snakes, crocodiles and poisonous bugs which includes mosquitoes, which are the main cause for diseases like Malaria and dengue fever. The worst, challenging and risky of all is to reach to the tip of glacial mass.
Other than the risks, mentioned above, there are many other risks factors like Bandits, Guerrillas, drug traffickers, and some police checkpoints. The area is known to be the prime for guerrilla territory. After reading all the risks and dangers, are you still in? Do you feel that you are one of those risk-takers and one of the hikers to hike such a dangerous gap? Then go ahead, and show your courage, but make sure that you have the required permissions, you are not alone and perform it under the guidance of the guide. Be mentally prepared that the journey is not so with pleasure and also the pay will be more than you expect.
The Maze, Canyonlands, Utah
Another breathtaking trek and adventure hiking place is The Maze, which is located in Utah’s Canyonlands, Nation Park in America. It is known for its dead ends and cleuches. Its main attraction is the number of twists and turns with the Red Rocks all over. It is with full of canyons and is considered as the red rock jungle.
It is said to be the place not for beginner hikers, and thus they should have a good amount of experience in hiking prior. The hikers need to be self sufficient and should be capable of handling himself and the situations in case of any emergency. There is much difficulty in finding the routes which lie between the sandstones. Also, there is difficulty in connecting the canyons because all of them look similar. Make sure you have enough water to drink and other amenities to hike in such 110 degrees Fahrenheit, otherwise, and thus the saying by the experienced hikers that “Your life won’t last long and thus shorter life”.
The Maze is considered to be the riskiest hike amongst all. This places barely is known to many people, and thus only about 2000 visitors can be seen in a year. Thus, hikers should take care of themselves and you cannot expect any help from anyone if you are in trouble or get lost in between the hike/trek. There is a positive thing, that most of the trekkers/hikers visit The Maze by Jeep, and thus considered to be a bit more safe as compared to others. But remember, Do what you like and not what others do!
If you are lost, even GPS won’t be there to help you. Yes, you read correctly. You won’t get the reply from GPS when you try using it, as hikers experienced and known that it takes you off target and thus of no help. The Nation Park totally have the initiative and try making people more aware and careful about the dangers and consequences of the location and surroundings of The Maze. Luckily and by God’s grace, till now they are successful in spreading the warnings and awareness. Thus, we have not faced any accidental deaths in the location.
Do get the visual and imaginative view, try watching the movie “127 Hours”, which is based on a real story. It depicts, however, some people got trapped in the location during the hike and were not able to find their way out until they were saved. Make sure, before going, you are prepared with all the above-mentioned things, to be on the safer side! Good Luck!
Shackleton’s Route, South Georgia Island, Antarctica
Shackleton’s Route has its own history and is said to be one of the most epic hikes in the world. The history that lies at this place is all about a traveler and famous explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton and the crew with him. It was not less than a tragedy that they got stuck in the Antarctica region while crossing it. The region was completely covered with icy water. The experience that he had was definitely very Harsh and Painful, but he was very much impressed to have some unforgettable experience in his lifetime. The unforgettable experiences include the inhabitable region of Antarctica, hiking through the cleft of the glaciers and the huge amount of penguins residing in the black sanded beaches. Along with Penguins, there are also Elephant seals.
Sir Ernest Shackleton was stuck in the frozen for 17 days and experienced the drastic waves, the freezing cold temperature and unwanted weather conditions, whereas they were even with nothing to protect themselves but only had an astrolabe and chronometer. This was something that he has never experienced in his entire life before.
This hikers and explorers have experienced the most dangerous seas and survived to narrate us entire courage with which have lived there, has already grown so much respect for them all over and praises for their bravery. These had also truly carved their names in the history of Antarctica.
After months of survival with courage, the structure of the ship cleft the frozen ice and they moved towards the waterfront, still on the floating ice.
They only aim for them to reach South Georgia, an island, which was basically 1200 miles away from South America towards the South. They were imagining and had a dream of getting some help from the crew available over there. They were on the path of success but had not achieved yet. Another tragedy was there on the way for them. Many of the crew members sailed in the boat, in order to move towards the island and reach there. But sadly, they could not make it and unfortunately, they reached over the other side. But they did not fail and still remained motivated to reach to destination island. The correct side of the island was approximately 32 miles away from the opposite side. They finally were able to make to that gigantic station but in a very disheveled attire and condition.
But, on a happy and thrilling note, still, the thrill-seekers might have the chance to experience and enjoy this adventurous hike with Aurora Expeditions
So, what are you waiting for? Try yourself these thrilling experiences in the hike, where it takes you to arctic passes and glaciers but a bit dangerous. So be careful. And let me tell, this effort will be worthwhile once you achieve it. Also, you will gain a new experience during the hike as a hiker, to walk through the wobble of penguins. Isn’t it exciting?
Via Ferrata, Dolomites
Do you know what exactly the name means? Yes, you must be thinking how does even matter to you, right? But yeah if you know the meaning, you might predict what exactly the place has.
So, let me tell you! In the Latin language, the word, Via Ferrata means “iron way”. There is actually a path which is safer since it has some iron cables over the rocky face for the hikers to hike. It becomes a bit easier for the hikers and moreover a little safer. So the steps are: you just have to strap yourself into a piece of equipment like harness, following with clipping it into a cable, and here you go, zuuuuuuupppppp, just start sliding. Since these paths are well protected and thus gives you a safer and unique way of experiencing the hike in the Via Ferrata, over the walls of the Dolomites mountains.
It is still recommended to travel over the Via Ferrata in the Dolomites with the mountain guide available locally. This will definitely give you a wonderful experience. Hiking with the local guide will help you gain some understandings and beautiful experience of the traditions and the authentic spirit of the locals and the locality. It is said that the local people are very organized.
The best thing about this hike is, it can be hiked or climbed by anyone who is above the age of 8. It is perfect for people of any age, that is, childhood to old age (who are fit to take the hike, of course).
This hiking place, Via Ferrata, also has a history and it all started during World War I. Currently, there are around 600 via ferratas all over the Dolomite and the nearby area. The via ferratas are available in different sizes which has a minimum of 150 meters in vertical and max of 1200 meters around. So, it’s on you, the difficulty level you would like to select. Challenge yourself and your friends on hiking from easy to the highest difficulty level.
Do you know which is the highest via Ferrata in the world is? It is Mt. Kinabalu which is Malaysian Borneo. It is at the height of 12388 ft above, measured from sea level.
Via ferratas are the safest hiking place, due to all the iron cables, all around, many of the suspension bridges in between to cross through, handholds for the safety while hiking and much more. Via ferratas would be considered as the best way to access the complete area just with little unpredictable dangers for the normal hike.
Though clipping provides you the easy and safe way of hiking in the Dolomites, but just remember, you have to be more careful. That means, the clipping to the bolt is not a one time task. You have to unclip the karabiner from one bolt to another once you reach the bolt. So this is how the recliping of the karabiner would work in via ferratas. Thus being a little careless and unlucky can put you in danger and you could fall.
Although Via Ferratas have safety iron rods and other safety-related things, they also have a history of taking lives. There was a British Lady, who lost her life in front of her husband, by slipping and falling off a cliff of about 600ft in the year 2009. Similarly, an Austrian man lost his life in 2017 who fell off a Via Ferrata located in Switzerland. Thus, while hiking through Via fearrats, make sure you have undertaken the training, safety precautions and become more attentive and careful.
Hua Shan, China
Situated in China, Mount HuaShan is the highest of all the five mountains located there. To be more specific, it is located around 75 miles away from Xi’an. There are things like, narrow steep slopes, highly dangerous cliffs and the beautiful scenery visible from the height are the most famous ones in HuaShan.
Initially, it was said to have three peaks, but the modern times, they are classified to have five peaks. The highest of all the five is the southernmost peak which is approximately at an altitude of 2,155 meters. Each of the 5 peaks is famous for its own beauty and significance. These mountains are famous for their great religious significance.
If you wish to feel the pleasure of the morning scene during the sunrise, then East peak is best for you. If you want to challenge yourself and dare to reach to the highest of all, then south peaks would make it true. West peak is the most classic of all the peaks over there. North Peak has the maximum clouds over it and thus it is called as Cloud Terrace Peak. Jade Lady Peak is the name given to the Middle Peak of all the five.
There are some sections, which are considered not as famous as others. There is a wall named Plank wall, which is located on the South Peak, which is the highest peak, amongst the 5. It has the same concept of clipping and moving forward. The hikers, during the hike, clip into the harness and make use of the boults at every small plank located on the cliff.
Mount HuaShan in China, is also famous for more Taoist temples. Years ago, many great people have sacrificed to the Mountains, considering the God, and thus it makes it holy land of Taoism. Though there are an enormous amount of dangers in hiking these mountains and achieving the goal to reach to the peaks, many visitors come from all over the world, more for climbing and enjoy the scenic beauty during the sunrise.
Due to narrower footpaths, and steep slopes, Mount HuaShan has taken many lives. And as per the people, or call it rumors, the ratio has reached to 100 lives in a year. You have to be careful in putting every step in the narrow path rather than concentrating on the pictures and the best view can be visible from the top to take a selfie 😉
Northern Drakensberg Traverse, South Africa
The Drakensberg is one of the most famous and beautiful treks in South Africa. Its mesmerizing beauty makes you stop at all the checkpoint on the way and feel the nature around. Visiting Drakensberg Grand Traverse is said not to be complete if you don’t stop yourself mandatory at all the available checkpoints.
The total distance to be traveled while hiking through the Drakensberg Grand Traverse is 140 miles. The border of the path is shared between South Africa and Lesotho. The complete journey gives you the opportunity to experience the wide range of six peaks which are at the height of 10,000 ft. You will also be undergoing the variations of the colors in nature and the climate.
The word ‘Drakensberg’ literally means ‘Dragon mountains’ among Africans and it purely symbolizes the sneaky peaks of the Drakensberg. Since Africa is also known for the home of many wild animals, you might sight a couple of Zebras on the way of hiking, if you are lucky enough 😉 These mountains in South Africa are most famous for its matchless scenic beauty and thus Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park is considered as a UNESCO heritage site.
There is one of the areas in the region, that is Northern Drakensberg Traverse, which is not very well known to the people. If the hikers want to step back to see the Cathedral Peak, then its mandate to scramble up the hill with the help of chain ladders, which were actually made years ago in the 1930s, for hikers.
Moving towards the Northern Drakensberg, you will come across Amphitheatre, which is one of the most known and magnificent cliffs faces on the land. You will be amazed to know its size which is almost thrice the size of total region of all the cliffs in EI Capitan of Yosemite. Not only this, it is almost ten times the size of a southwestern cliff face. It is also called as the home of the world’s second-highest waterfall, named the Tugela falls. It falls from a height of 3110 feet straight into the river underneath.
Every mountain holds history and some bad death records because of the risky weather or some natural calamities. Similarly, Drakensberg recorded the death of 55 hikers in history before 1985, due to the same reasons. Coming to the present condition, nature is the only thing about which you should be concerned there while hiking, and sometimes some man-made happenings, like attacks by bandits, which is rare.
El Caminito del Rey, Spain
El Caminito del Rey, which is also named as The King’s Little Path, is located in the region of Malaga in Spain. This was even originally named after King’s Pathway which is Camino del Rey. The King by whom it was constructed was King Alfonso XIII, who was the king of Spain in the year 1990s.
This also serves a different purpose for the people in El Chorro Dam which is located near Malaga in Andalusia. The workers of the Hydroelectric power plant got a method to keep up the water channel which would lead to Malaga.
The 2 miles path, which is the interesting pathway on the actual 5 miles long path. This includes one of the nicest narrow footbridges, which goes along the fringe of one of the rivers named Guadalhorce River and is located in Desfiladero de Los Gaitanes gorge.
As mentioned earlier, about the dangers and risks, one has to go through while hiking this amazing hikes, El Caminito del Rey is also proved to be a quite risky one. There are few death counts in El Caminito del Rey also which includes one of the mountaineers and few more boys who lost their lives due to the breaking of zipline which was attached to them.
Due to detouring of the pathway and making it riskier, it went under construction and remained, for long, closed for the public. Even though the pathway in El Caminito was resting on steel rails and also built of concrete, but with time, the pathway got worse and leaving some broken sections in the concrete, which thereafter started collapsing. This became much more risk and then the government took a decision to close the hike for the public before it could put more lives in danger.
The renovation work took place for approximately 3 years before, in 2015, it was open to the public again. Also, the costing of renovating El Caminito del Rey’s pathway was shared two of the governments of Andalusia and Malaga worth 9 million Euros.
Even after the renovation, and construction took place, there are times, when the pathway remains closed due to natural conditions like weather and rockfall. During this duration of time, if the hikers are hiking, they can still find an alternate route to reach their destination, but that would be from the tunnel where hikers will also find many species of bats.
Even after all the construction and safety measures taken, it’s hikers who have to take care. One step wrong can lead to the entirely wrong way and in great danger. Just another fact about being at El Caminito del Rey, that it’s known to be the home for vultures and these would always be seen over your head, so just be very very careful!!
This is one of those treks from where you can take a sight of the beautiful pacific ocean. Also, this is the trek which has many tropical flowers and very pleasant to see waterfalls! Don’t miss them!
But don’t just get fascinated with these beauties and bluff yourself. Kalalau trek is not that easy, that you must be thinking of. It’s definitely worth visiting and experiencing the beauty all around. But this trek is full of various deadly combinations like rockslides, dangerous drop-offs, and flash floods while you might have to cross the stream. This place has many prone areas along with the beauty all around. One of the incidents includes of a man, who lost his life in 2016 near Beach Kalalau and also of a teenager girl who died while crossing the stream and was swept away. It was in the year 2014.
Before you start hiking to Kalalau, don’t forget to take the permit to hike. This is because the trails are not that safe and clear over there and not well marked, which could not be understood by the hikers during the trek. It is fading slowly. As I said, there are many risk-prone areas like Crawler’s ledge over there, which is proved to such narrow path, that if you are not careful for a sec, you will be responsible to lose your life in the ocean down to it. Your one mistake can lead you to the path of heaven.
Along with the above-mentioned areas, the most dangerous one is yet to be revealed. Yes, you heard right! It’s not just weather conditions and slides, but currents that Hanakappi’s beach which is truly deadliest part. It is said that more than 100 swimmers, lost their lives due to this.
Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala
This is going to be really exciting and different. It’s all about the new experiences in terms of a place where there are dozens of volcanoes. Pacaya Volcano is one of them in Guatemala.
Pacaya Volcano is claimed to be one of the most active volcanoes amongst the three to be said in the country. Have you ever been to such a mountain hike or around such places? Don’t you think it’s going to be really new world of experience and something exciting worth seeing? Do you know that this Pacaya Volcano has erupted minimum of 23 times, at least from the period of time when these Spanish people even have started noticing about the eruption in Guatemala?.
The last recent volcanic eruption took place on July 2018 in Pacaya Volcano.
The hikers go here from all around the world for sightseeing this lava coming out as a result of volcanic activity at Pacaya in Guatemala. It is worth watching it after the dark which makes easy for the hikers to get a glance of the red lava. Thus they plan to hike it after the dark and making entirely new experiences and memories for them.
Though the volcanic activity takes place at some unknown time, the area around and the rocks and over the mountains are always with some lava and thus making it a slippery surface for the hikers to hike. The rocks are even found hot due to lava. The hikers are not allowed to go to the top, because of the safety measures and after many untimely eruptions. Thus tourism is not allowed at the top.
Abuna Yemata Guh, Ethiopia
This is one of the places of worship but unfortunately, it is said of the least reachable place. The height of the cliff here is approximately 2500ft high.
It needs a lot of courage for the hikers, and a follower or enthusiastic to reach to that worship place and offer their prayers. The hike is full of the narrow path, seer cliffs, and walls. Since it is the worship place, many devotees hike barefoot.
It is of great happiness and surprise to me that many pregnant women, babies and even old age people come here to offer their prayers. And the more best part is till date there is no death has been recorded.
The Tigray Churches are located at the height of 2500ft. Abuna Yemata Guh is amongst those 100 Tigray Churches and thus the trek named after it. It’s one of the most famous ones.
The reason for building Abuna Yemata Guh at height was the decision of a priest named Father Yemata, because of the reason to keep it safe from rivals and opponents. The priest is an Egyptian and it was decided somewhere in the 5th century AD. These Tigray Churches remains of great importance in Ethiopia’s history and one of the very holy places to worship. Thus they always keep the place protected and offer their prayers, even if that means trekking for long to reach the destination.
Do you invite a challenge for yourself? Courageous enough?
Is there any hike in your life, which was as challenging as the ones mentioned above? Are you the one who has at least tried any one of them? If not, then have gathered enough courage to think and do so, and convince yourself to start with? Are you ready with your gang? So, let us know your experiences and story, only if you have dared to do so 😉