Walking the Plank at Mt. Huashan, China
Mount Huashan in China has been climbed for hundreds of years by pilgrims looking to visit the temples located on the five spires of the mountain, even though it is a near-sheer cliff face. Mount Huashan is still regarded as one of the most dangerous hikes in the world to this day as it is the mountain that modern technology and safety standards forgot. Hikers walk on narrow pathways made from flimsy wooden planks that are bolted into the mountain. There are no handrails, only a safety harness that keeps you hooked to a chain bolted into the mountain, that is, if you choose to buy one. While there are no official statistics, it's rumored that at least 100 people die on this hike yearly.
One thing everybody agrees on; If you're going to hike Mr. Huashan, you better make sure you have a good pair of hiking boots!
Riding the Mieders Alpine Coaster in Austria
Roller coasters are rarely dangerous, right? At least that's what people tell themselves as they strap in. The ski regions of the Alps have their own form of roller coaster — the Alpine Coasters. These non-motorized, gravity-powered coasters have visitors zooming down mountainsides at breakneck speeds without all those pesky safety belts. Located on top of the lofty Koppeneck ski region in Austria is the steepest Alpine Coaster in the world — Mieders. Riders zip down the mountain at speeds up to 42 km/h along sharp curves and with 600-metre vertical drops. The scenery of the Austrian Alps is beautiful as well, when riders aren't too concerned with falling off.
Running of the Bulls in Spain
Although the Running of the Bulls takes place in towns all over Spain, Portugal and even some cities in Mexico, the most famous run is in Pamplona, Spain during the eight-day festival of Sanfermines in honour of Saint Fermin. Every year, hundreds of young men gather just in front of the corral to prove their courage. When the bulls are released, it's a full-on run for your life scenario. Make it through the stretch between the corral and the bullring and the accolades of your bravery are assured. Fall behind and you risk being trampled or gored by a set of angry bull horns. Each year there are around 300 injuries from the event and occasionally a handful of fatalities, but still every year hundreds of people gather to participate.
Kayak over the Palouse Falls in Washington State
Kayaking over small waterfalls can be dangerous at the best of times, but those who seek a real waterfall kayaking rush should mark the Palouse Falls on their bucket list. At 56 metres tall, the Palouse Waterfall in eastern Washington State is a little taller than Niagara Falls. It's so high that kayaking over it has only been done successfully once, by Tyler Bradt who earned a world record for the feat.
White-Water Rafting on the Zambezi River in Zambia
The stretch of Zambezi River that passes through Zambia is fondly known "Africa's Washing Machine," not for its ability to clean clothes but because it is among the craziest, roughest stretch of river in the world. The rapids on the Zambezi are Class V, just below being unrunnable. Those who go on full-day adventures will be tossed around in 20 rapids while half-day rafters will attempt 10. From February to June — during the flood season — the water at its roughest. It is a thrilling adventure for the seasoned river rafter, but be careful not to fall in, you might never surface again.
Ice Climbing in the Helmcken Falls Spray Cave, British Columbia
Ice climbing is becoming a popular winter activity — but the Helmcken Falls Spray Cave in British Columbia takes it to another level. Even just to get to this 137-metre deep cavern of ice and snow, climbers have to traverse a huge stretch of spray ice littered with deep crevasses. Inside the cave, there are thousands of sharp and deadly icicles above that can always break and fall, but it is worth it for the dozens of different ice climbing routes within the cave.
Climbing Mount Everest in the Himalayas
It seems like everyone and their mother has climbed Mount Everest these days. However, climbing the tallest mountain in the world is still just as dangerous as ever. All the dangers of conquering this mountain are still present including avalanches, falling rocks, falling into crevasses, whiteouts, hurricanes at 8,600 metres, strong winds, frostbite and severe exhaustion due to lack of oxygen. Of course, there is also that age-old worry of freezing to death as well.
Gorge Swinging at Oribi Gorge in South Africa
Those too grown up for the average swing set will want to head to South Africa for the mature, crazy, version of the childhood playground staple. In the Oribi Gorge, adventure enthusiasts have built one of the world's biggest gorge swings. Visitors leap off the edge of the gorge by the Lehr Waterfall and fall 165 metres at 120 km/h for 2.5 seconds before swinging back and forth in the cavernous expanse of the gorge.
Volcano Boarding at Cerro Negro, Nicaragua
The Cerro Negro is an active volcano outside of Leon, Nicaragua. It has always attracted visitors for its dangerous beauty, but lately another form of tourism has come to the area in the form of volcano boarding. Zipping down a volcano's steep surface at 48 km/h is a thrill to remember. Volcanic rock is notoriously sharp — falling onto volcanic rock has been known to shred off a few layers of skin, and that's if you're lucky. There are also toboggans for those that want a safer way down the mountain, but even falling off those is painful.
Cliff Jumping in Red Rock Park, Vermont
When daredevils think of cliff jumping, they tend to think of the tall cliffs and warm water of Mexico. But Vermont's Red Rock cliff-jumping point is even crazier. Cliff jumpers at Red Rock have to get a running start to avoid the sharp cliff face and pointed spires below, and the water is cold enough to take a jumper's breath away if the jump itself didn't already claim it.
Ice Climb the Bruckenfall Frozen Waterfall in Switzerland
The Canadian Rockies may be the premiere destination to ice climb frozen waterfalls, but for those that want to climb the tallest frozen waterfall, they'll have to head over to Switzerland. The 152-metre Bruckenfall freezes solid in winter — only one person has even conquered it. Austrian climber conquered the Bruckenfall in the middle of the night in -18 C temperatures with just a pair of trusty ice picks. Climbers have to be sure that the temperature is cold enough for the waterfall to be stable enough to climb — a chilling -18 C climb in the dark is probably more preferable than a 150-metre fall.
Mountain Biking the Road of Death in Bolivia
Bolivia's Road of Death is a 90-km stretch that runs between the town of La Paz and the small city of Coroico in the jungle of the Andes Mountains. The one lane dirt road winds through mountains making for dangerous curves and steep hills. It has earned its name from the 100 to 300 lives that are lost annually from traffic accidents. There are no guard rails that protect people from a steep drop, only ominous grave markers that mark the spots where people have died. While driving the road is a danger in itself, visitors to the area can also mountain bike it. Not only do they have to watch out for unexpectedly steep curves, but they have to dodge vehicle traffic as well. It is almost assured to be the most thrilling adventure a mountain biker can undertake.
Bungee Jumping Off Victoria Falls Bridge on the Border of Zimbabwe and Zambia
There are few more spectacular places in the world to take a leap of faith than off the Victoria Falls Bridge. When jumping off this rail bridge, not only are you bordering two countries, but you will receive awe-inspiring views of the mighty Victoria Falls, known by the locals as "the smoke and thunders." Of course, an added incentive to check the bungee cord before jumping comes from the crocodiles circling 111 metres below in the Zambezi River. Those who have had their cord snap here — and there have been a few — learned the importance of safety the hard way.
Hiking the El Caminito del Rey in Spain
The danger of the El Caminito del Rey hike is only rivalled by the aforementioned Mount Huashan hike in China. These ruins in the south of Spain have been a constant attraction to adrenaline junkies and rock climbers alike. El Caminito del Ray, or "The King's Little Pathway," is more than 100 years old and sits 100 metres in the air. This wouldn't be nearly as terrifying if most of the path wasn't disintegrated. Whereas hikers 100 years ago could have walked the path with confidence, hikers today have to precariously balance on beams or hang from cliff sides by the tips of their fingers to see this beautiful area.
Base Jumping from Meru Peak in the Himalayas
BASE jumpers who have tried the rest can now try the highest. Meru Peak in the Himalayas was the setting for one of the highest BASE jumps of all time. Record holders Glenn Singleman and Heather Swan soared down 6,604 metres off this sheer precipice in an exhilarating two minute fall. Daredevils that what to make their own world record jump of Meru Peak will need to decide if the 22-day hike in subzero temperatures is worth it though.
Climbing Mont Blanc on the French/Italian Border
Many think that Mount Everest is the deadliest peak to scale, but they are wrong. The title of deadliest mountain to climb belongs to Mont Blanc that straddles the border of France and Italy. At 4,877 meters, it's not quite as tall as Everest, but it is much more dangerous. Mont Blanc has been responsible for 8,000 deaths. In 2008, it claimed 50 lives alone. More often than not, it is the wind gusts that reach up to 95 km/h that sweep people away.
People have been risking their lives in exchange for an adrenaline rush for as long as humans have been documenting our existence. As technology progresses further, and people’s crazy stunts are easily viewable online, daredevils keep taking things one step further in order to experience the biggest rush possible. These daredevils are often ready to put their life on the line in order to really feel alive. Is the risk worth the reward? You be the judge.
Bungee Jumping into Chile's Villarrica Volcano
Has bungee jumping lost its thrill? Well, why not up the adrenaline by bungee jumping out of a helicopter over an active volcano? For a pricey $10,000, visitors to Chile can fly over the Villarrica Volcano in a helicopter; strap themselves in and bungee jump towards the pool of liquid lava below. Jumpers only get within 200 metres of the molten rock, but it is still close enough to feel the extreme heat. If that isn't fun and dangerous enough, the heat from the volcano causes extreme turbulence in the helicopter and may even cause it to crash.