The hard way to school: Children climb 800 meter cliff by vines ladders in Southwest China
Atule’er Village in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Southwest China’s Sichuan Province is commonly known as the “cliff village”, as it sits 1,400 meters above sea level just a stone's throw away from an 800 meter precipice. In total 72 households call the village home. Their only link to the outside world is a series of 17 vine ladders, including some of more than 100 meters in length. Many of the cliffs are completely impassible due to a lack of ladders, and even the experienced young men in the village need at least 90 minutes to scale the cliff face and another 60 minutes to climb down. This treacherous trek has already cost several villagers their lives, and is the only point of access for 15 children aged from 6 to 15 that go to boarding school outside the village. Twice a month they come back home for the weekend, at which point they too must brave the many ladders under the watchful eye of their parents.