7 Wonders Of The World That Are Insanely Impossible To Visit
If you could drop everything right now and visit anywhere in the world, where would you go? The Mediterranean? Rio de Janeiro? The good KFC two towns over? All fine places, to be sure, but they tend to lack an air of exclusivity. For the adventurous amongst us (or those who simply want a few more Instagram followers), there are still spots of unspoiled nature that few civilized feet have ever touched. Sure, you might get killed trying to reach them, but that's all part of the fun! Allow us to make some suggestions.
Ball's Pyramid Is The Australian Version Of Mount Doom
Pyramids are world-famous for being giant symbols of death, and while Ball's Pyramid is no man-made tomb, it can kill people like the best of pharaohs.
Put it on the end of a big stick for a gigantic spear, for example.
The remnant of a volcano off the coast of Australia, Ball's Pyramid is a giant spiky death triangle that in no way resembles a ball, and which no sane person should want anything to do with. First summited in 1965, it took a whopping 17 years before Australia finally said "Hey, let's maybe keep people off the dangerous spike island so they don't die."*
*Does not apply to Jedi.
There's a tiny flat spot at the back end of this island of doom which is typically where people land before scaling the very thin ridge to the top. Of course, in true Australian fashion, the climb is the least terrifying part of this godforsaken spike -- it's the bugs.
If it bites you, you turn into the Amazing Fucking-Nightmare-Man.
Look at those finger-sized fuckers. Those things are a few years away from being boiled and served at a Red Lobster. Thought to be extinct in the early parts of the 20th century due to rats eating them all, this was proven false when some climbers in the 1960s discovered a bunch of, quote, "recently dead" corpses of Lord Howe Island stick insects. We're fairly certain that these are large enough critters to deserve the term "corpses."
So we know these Starship Trooper rejects are still alive, but that's about it. They're nocturnal, and not even Australians are crazy enough to try and scale Ball's Pyramid at night to find out more. Yet a few mad research expeditions were launched in 2001 and 2003. They managed to come back with the only bit of data we all need to know: These monsters only live on the volcano and nowhere else. It's okay, you can sleep safely now.
Movile Cave Is What The Middle Ages Thought Hell Would Be Like
There exists a cave that's not just vile, it's Movile. Enjoy that bad pun, because that's as lighthearted as this story will get. Movile Cave is a cave in Romania with a big lake inside, and that's where the horror starts.
Just because there's not a label pointing out the mer-mole people cave doesn't mean it's not there ...
Movile Cave is in the middle of a field, and you have to sort of follow a rope down the cave entrance for about 20 yards, and it's pitch-black in there. You have to go down wearing a boiler suit and a helmet. Why? Because it's poisonous as all hell in there -- literally. In the center of Moville Cave lies a lake of sulfuric acid straight out of Dante. As of 2010, only 29 people have dared to plunge into these depths, because shocker, it's not really a great first date location.
It might very well be a portal to Hell, and the beasts found inside back us up on that theory. Eyeless, translucent monsters inhabit this hellish cave, seemingly unbothered by the lack of oxygen and food. That's because these critters can live off the disgusting membrane of bacteria that carpets the cave's floor, which in turn feeds off the noxious gasses its surroundings toot.
But we've kept the good news for last: The cave is getting bigger! The sulfuric acid is eating its way through the neighboring limestone, expanding the cave as we speak. So it's only a matter of time before this hell pit swallows us all whole. Isn't nature amazing?
Bushman's Hole Hides All Its Horror In The Bottom
Those people in commercials who jump off of cliffs and into some pool of water a hundred feet below are just so cool. If you've never had that impulse before (because it gets in the way of your well-adjusted survival instinct), perhaps a visit to Bushman's Hole in South Africa will entice you to do a sick backflip into the depths below.
Which, locally, is referred to as the "Bushman's Backflip Bouncearoo."
Look at that sight. That water is begging to be bombed into. Let's hike down and get a better idea of where we're going to land, this is gonna be siiiii-huh?
Someone needs to mow that pond.
Don't fall for Bushman's Hole's (or Boesmansgat in its native Afrikaans) ruse that it's a silly scum pond up close -- that's how it gets you. The water is in fact 900 feet deep -- which sounds great for jumping into at great heights, but it's not the fall you need to worry about. After that initial puddle there, a prehistoric underwater cave opens up that keeps getting wider and wider -- and weirder and weirder.
Go down about 250 meters (or about 125 Lebrons, if you're American) and you wind up in a "dead zone," where the normal rules of nature don't seem to apply. Gravity goes weird, pressure mounts, and there is neither noise or sunlight. Most dangerous at all, going so deep in the freshwater cave will cause the air in your oxygen tank to go poisonous. Some divers have described it as the most alien environment you can find on Earth. We say "some" because a lot of them don't resurface at all.
A guy named Dave Shaw was preparing to string a line into the cave so that people could explore it while diving when he saw in front of him the body of a diver named Deon Dreyer, who had died in the hole a few years prior. Dave came back to the surface and began prepping a body recovery mission, in which he'd utilize the line he'd strung to reach Dreyer's body. However, during the recovery, Dreyer's head detached and floated around, at one point almost staring into Shaw's camera with dead black eyes. This place is cursed, if you hadn't already figured that out. Trying to recover the head, Shaw only lost track of time for a second, but that was all it took. The depths made him slower, and eventually still. Other divers only managed to recover Shaw's body four days later.
So yeah, if you are in the mood of experiencing an environment most alien, might we suggest outer space? There's honestly a better chance of you coming back alive from there than from Bushman's Hole.
Rockall Is The Most Valuable Rock That No One Can Climb
"Nice natural resources you got there" is probably tied for first place with "My god is cooler than yours" when it comes to reasons wars have been fought. And thanks to global warming, there's going to be less and less land to find in the future, so people are going to fight tooth and nail for whatever land we can find. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Waterwor- we mean, Rockall.
"Are you ready to Rockall?"
240 miles from the Scottish Orkneys, Rockall is, well, some fucking rock. The only thing that sets it apart from other boring rocks is that it so happens to jut out of the ocean in such a way that nobody has been able to really stick their flag on it. The damn thing is practically impossible to get on top of.
Until jetpacks are affordable, that is.
The sides of Rockall shoot almost straight up into the air, which means climbing it from a boat is a tremendous pain in the maritime ass. Pretty much the only way to get on top of Rockall is by dropping out of a helicopter. However, this hasn't stopped anyone from being completely maniacal over this piece-of-shit rock.
There are two things that make Rockall special, and they both have to do with its slippery nature. Rockall sits in the middle of what may very well be an extremely profitable oil field. The rock then could be worth 100 billion British money, so of course many countries, including Britain, Ireland, Iceland, and Denmark, want to make it theirs. Imagine a bunch of explorer types trying to climb this damn thing before slipping and falling into the ocean, and you've got a rough idea as to why nobody's got an official claim. Or, for a funnier image, picture Greenpeace protesting the drilling of oil around Rockall. Which they've tried. Unsuccessfully.
At some point they realized protesting on behalf of a big rock wasn't worth it.
But the best Rockall story of all probably belongs to Nick Hancock, who currently holds the record for the longest time spent on Rockall. It took him several days just to get to the damn rock, and the nasty seas around it kept him away for quite a while. His target was 60 days, 18 more than current record holder Greenpeace. But a combination of running out of food and his ability to get someone to evacuate him off the damn rock kept him from hitting his goal. In the end, he managed to stay on Rockall with his survival kit for 45 days, and we're not sure anyone cares enough about this bleeding rock to beat that.
The Grand Canyon Is Impossible To Hike All The Way Through
Millions of people go to the Grand Canyon every year, netting Arizona much more tourist money than the rest of the state really deserves. But for all its massive popularity with American romantics, even a slow toddler could count the number of people who have hiked the whole distance of the Grand Canyon.
When you can see it from space, it's a lot of distance.
For starters, it's a 700-mile hike, roughly the distance from Chicago to Washington, D.C. For that kind of a trek, you'll need spots to resupply, some campsites to spend the night -- the whole nine and 1,231,991 more yards. Unfortunately, none of what that exists inside the Grand Canyon -- and neither does cellphone service. Did you expect anything else in Arizona?
That's not even taking into account the topography. There isn't any one continuous trail throughout the whole canyon, so there's going to be a lot of climbing up and down very steep switchbacks trying to get from one trail to another. This isn't to say people haven't tried it. It's just that over time, they all realized that it's going to take an extensive amount of planning, featuring everything from mules to almond rationing to strategic supply drops laid out ahead of time with GPS coordinates in an area which, you'll recall, has spotty coverage at best.
And sure, there are some "hacks" to get you through. For example, the best way to get all the way through the Grand Canyon is, shocker, by floating down the river. There are also a bunch of "sectional" hikes (i.e. not doing the whole route in one go or in a fixed order) that effectively accomplish the same thing. It doesn't let you float down a river, though, so no competition.
Another instance where jetpacks would make these issues disappear.
Before 2015, fewer people had made a continuous hike through the Grand Canyon than had walked on the moon. C'mon, NASA, don't let a hole in the ground get the better of you. We smell a new astronaut endurance course.
Surtsey Island: Land Of No Pooping
Small islands always have this air of mystique. Isolated from the rest of the world, who knows what strange things lived there. A long-lost tribe? A giant ape? A bunch of Japanese WWII soldiers? Surtsey Island has none of that mystique. It didn't exist before the '60s. We know everyone who has been on this thing.
You can't even say that about your mom, let alone an entire island.
Surtsey Island is the result of a volcanic eruption that happened off the coast of Iceland a week before JFK was assassinated (not that we're saying the island had anything to do with that). The eruption itself was ongoing for a long time; long enough that the Icelandic government grabbed its chance to declare Surtsey a nature preserve that nobody was allowed into without authorization before some dickhead with a national flag was able to pin it on the island.
Being the one island we know for a fact is unspoiled, Surtsey's like one gigantic petri dish for evolutionary scientists. The only two structures on Surtsey are an old lighthouse for safety and a tiny shack that that looks like it couldn't even take a single huff, let alone a puff. But that's all they're going to allow. The whole point of observing Surtsey in the way that they are is to see how plant colonization and succession works. That means no outside seeds, no outside fertilizer, nothing. The scientists don't even get to shit their pants when they see something exciting happen.
To be fair, the most exciting part probably happened when the island formed.
Most Of The World's Peaks Have Yet To Be Climbed
Mount Everest is so passe. It's like the pumpkin spice latte of dangerous mountains. Oh, look at the brave mountaineer, assailing a rock everyone and their grandmother has already scaled. Face it, climbing Everest is the blandest thing you can do that could cost you all your toes. Why not try some of these cool new alternative mountains no one has never heard of?
It's totally worth no one ever finding your remains.
This is Muchu Chhish, and it does not want to be climbed. Trying to get settled in at base camp? Enjoy the stampeding yaks. There are snow leopards and ibex nearby too, and they don't like people. It's also quite prone to falling rocks and avalanches -- for tenderizing you before you get eaten. You will get eaten.
There's also Karjiang on the Tibet border, which seemingly has a couple of summits, none of which are particularly accessible (by mountain standards, at least), and none of which have successfully been climbed to the tippy-top. Joe Puryear, who wasn't some schmuck with a decent Sherpa, was the last guy to even attempt to climb it was in 2010, and he died trying.
Abandon all hope and oxygen.
Then, we've got Gangkhar Puensum in peaceful Bhutan, the world's tallest un-summited peak. This is a mountain so nasty that, despite being the 40th-highest overall peak, has never been conquered. Part of that has to do with the fact that the Bhutanese government has had to slap a ban on trying to climb it. They claim it's out of respect for local spiritual beliefs, but according to the chairperson of the Everest Foundation, "They just looked at what was going on in Nepal with Everest and decided that they're not going to be part of that." Gangkhar is too remote and too dangerous, and Bhutan would prefer to remain unknown rather than be known as the place where extreme sports dudebros go to die.
Isaac wrote this from the comfort of a chair in his room. You can find him on Twitter.
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