The Daily Edge uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Click here to find out more »
Dublin: 9 °C Saturday 1 November, 2014

In pics: Part of the Great Wall of China most tourists never see

Two hikers share their trip on unrestored part of the Wall which has since been closed for safety reasons.

THE GREAT WALL of China, stretching 5,500 miles from Shanhaiguan in the east to Lop Lake in the west, is one of the great marvels of the world.

Most tourists visit Badaling, a section near Beijing that has been heavily restored and and built up as a tourist destination.

But some adventurous tourists venture to the sections of the wall that are less travelled and unrestored. In many cases these sections are difficult to reach and crumbling.

BusinessInsider.com readers Rindge Leaphart and Nataki Goodall visited one of these sections in 2008 and shared their photos and story with us. The section they hiked, between Jinshanling and Simitai, was closed in 2010 for safety reasons, and tourists have not been allowed there since.

All images courtesy of Rindge Leaphart.

In pics: Part of the Great Wall of China most tourists never see
1 / 24
  • Great Wall, little-visited

    Badaling, the most popular section of the wall for tourists, is visited by millions of people annually.
  • Great Wall, little-visited

    But the unrestored section between Jinshanling and Simitai is far less travelled.
  • Great Wall, little-visited

    The wall, at 5,500 miles, is actually a series of fortifications built as early as the 7th century BC that were eventually joined by a continuous path.
  • Great Wall, little-visited

    Sections of the wall have been built and rebuilt, while others have disappeared altogether.
  • Great Wall, little-visited

    When Rindge and Nataki visited on a sweltering June day, they saw no more than 30 hikers in an 8 or 9-hour period.
  • Great Wall, little-visited

    Splendid isolation.
  • Great Wall, little-visited

    One of the fortifications on the Wall.
  • Great Wall, little-visited

  • Great Wall, little-visited

    The major fort at Simitai.
  • Great Wall, little-visited

    There were just a few unarmed and visible guards during the couple's hike on the wall.
  • Great Wall, little-visited

    Apart from the heat, the biggest challenge was climbing on the crumbling stones, which have stood for thousands of years.
  • Great Wall, little-visited

    "Parts of the wall were easy to walk, but many of the sections not only had rock that was crumbling, but had very steep inclines", Rindge said.
  • Great Wall, little-visited

    "There were sections where you literally had to walk on all fours because of the condition of the rock and the incline."
  • Great Wall, little-visited

    "The rock/brick had eroded so much in some places and crumbled in others," said Nataki. "Long stretches felt like rock climbing horizontally - searching for toe holds and finger holds, at one point grabbing onto weeds and praying they would hold."
  • Great Wall, little-visited

    While parts of the Wall have been renovated, much of it lies in disrepair.
  • Great Wall, little-visited

    In some places, locals have taken stones to build their own homes.
  • Great Wall, little-visited

    Other parts have been destroyed to make way for construction projects.
  • Great Wall, little-visited

    Apart from fellow hikers and the occasional guard, there are also locals selling water and snacks along the route.
  • Great Wall, little-visited

    Naturally, the vendors on the Wall charge inflated prices - partly because they are selling to a captive audience; partly because of the effort involved in getting goods up the steep climb.
  • Great Wall, little-visited

    Spectacular.
  • Great Wall, little-visited

    The vendors use watchtowers spread out along the route to store their goods.
  • Great Wall, little-visited

    But since they were unrestored, even the watchtowers could be perilous. At one point, a wall had crumbled and given way to a steep drop.
  • Great Wall, little-visited

    Due to safety concerns, the section of the wall that Rindge and Nataki hiked has been closed since June 2011.
  • Great Wall, little-visited

    But it's expected to reopen sometime soon.

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

Published with permission from:

Business Insider
Business Insider is a business site with strong financial, media and tech focus.

Read next:

Comments (18 Comments)

Add New Comment