Via des Echelles de la Mort (GC32NMB):—Geocache of the Week

Traditional
GC32NMB
by Sansecousse
Difficulty:
2
Terrain:
5
Location:
Franche-Comté, France
N 47° 11.165′ E 006° 52.276

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What is Geocaching without adventure, risk-taking, thrill, and a challenge to overcome? GC32NMB encompasses every one of those elements, and has its own movie trailer. Be prepared to cross narrow monkey bridges that sway over 100 meters of open air, scale rugged rock faces, and climb what the locals refer to as des Echelles de la Mort: the ladders of death. After signing the log-book, zip line your way through the Doub Gorges in the Franch-Comté region of France to cap off this epic journey.

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The howling winds that sweep through the gorges have led the locals to refer to the area as “Death Valley.” Contrary to the name, the region is robust with flowers, colorful meadows, sparkling lakes, and the foothills of the Jura Mountains. The beauty of the Franch-Comté draws a lot of attention and becomes an oasis in the summer time, when other parts of France become dry.

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The T5 thrill seekers come to this area to feel alive and experience the adrenaline. The first stage of obstacles include ladders, originally made of wood and used by smugglers in the 18th century to pass over the Swiss border. Today, in place are safer ladders that are reinforced, and hooks in the side of the rock face to help you traverse en cours to the geocache.

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Just when you thought you were on solid ground, the wobbly monkey bridge and shaky nerves approach. Harness your inner grit to pass the daunting bridge and grab the cache that lies just ahead. The real challenge is simply getting to ground zero and overcoming that ‘stomach in your throat’ feeling along the route.

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“After a good vertical climb and adrenaline to the max . . .  I agree our first T5 was a hand trembling experience, and a lot of effort,” say CEPITIFLI, creators of the video linked above.

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Can you imagine crossing this in the winter time? There are a few brave souls who went after this T5 in the snow!

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From here you can choose between hiking back, head over another bridge, or going a bit further and taking a zip line across the valley. Don’t forget to BYOP (bring your own pulley), or rent a pulley nearby to add to the adventure. The area is regularly maintained by the land offices of la via ferrata des échelles de la mort

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Thank you for all the great pictures for those who have visited, and thank you Sansecousse et Gountard for recognizing this brilliant area and maintaining the geocache. 

Click to view slideshow.

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