Acrophobia – the fear of heights. Scientists debate whether this is an aggravation of the inborn fear of falling or whether it is due to an inefficiency in the internal balancing mechanisms of people with this issue. Regardless of whether you’re one of the 2-5 percent of people with the real deal of Acrophobia, there are some places in the world that might just activate your own fear of heights…take my advice and don’t look down.
Yungas Road – Bolivia, South America
One of the absolute most dangerous roads on the planet, claiming upwards of 300 lives per year, lovingly coined “the Death Road” by the locals. It is mostly a single lane road and guess what? People driving downhill are required to move to the outside edge of the road when passing. So have fun looking over the edge of a 15,260 foot cliff whilst a bus full of whoever comes careening past you, and guessing where you’re tires are since there are no guard-rails.
Karakoram Highway – Pakistan
A highway connecting China and Pakistan, built in a mountain range chock-full of incredibly dangerous terrain with elevations sometimes hitting 15,397 feet. As a point of reference, the Empire State Building is 1454 feet tall at the top of the spire…Over 1000 people lost their lives during construction, many of them due to falls…
Angel’s Landing – Zion National Park Utah
For thrill-seeking hikers, climbing to the top is always the goal. Zion National Park in Utah has bee-yoo-tiful scenery, trail ways, hiking, and photo ops. But Angel’s Landing is the pinnacle of this visually stunning paradise, with a summit of 5,790 feet. And yes, there have been deaths…and yes, a few of them were under questionable circumstances. At the end of your journey, you’ll see this….
But first, you have to climb to the top of this…
CN Tower EdgeWalk – Toronto, Ontario
The EdgeWalk is highest external walk in the world. Participants are tethered to a rail and can dangle slightly over the edge of the pod on the top of the tower, 1168 feet up in the air, that’s 116 storeys. To be fair, you’ll have an amazing view of Toronto and Lake Ontario, but essentially, you’ll be paying money to see if you can give yourself an adrenaline rush or a panic attack.
Dachstein Sky Walk – Austria
Oh right, so you thought you were tough because you man-handled the Grand Canyon Skywalk (at a measley 4700 ft), but did you know the Alps in Austria are home to another Skywalk? At 9000 freaking feet? You can fit six Empire State Buildings under this modern marvel, and you’re shielded from plummeting to your death by a chest-high pipe fence…
Aurland Lookout – Norway
On the side of a mountain in Norway, someone decided it would be a good idea to build a big panic-inducing slide-type lookout. As you walk up to the edge of the 2132 foot high ledge, it appears that there is nothing to keep you from going over the edge, which would indeed be a beautiful last sight, but hark! There is indeed a glass shield that will keep you from falling to your scenic doom.
Sidu River Bridge – China
There is another offshoot of Acrophobia that some people are probably uncomfortably familiar with…Gephyrophobia, the fear of driving over bridges. Some bridges even offer crossing services where someone will come drive your car over the bridge for you. And why not? You’re going to have the easiest time driving over this mammoth? It opened in 2009 and crosses a 1600 foot gap between the bridge and the gorge bottom. So, if you trust the building skills of humans, go ahead and give it a try.
Hua Shan Plank Walk – China
Why not climb the side of a mountain-face on some crusty old boards jutting out of the rock wall? You're ascending the path of the Ancients! That is thrilling and death-defying, right? Yes, it is. An ancient path up the side of the Hua Shan mountain, it’s now a very touristy location. Safety gear is provided (which the Ancients didn't have), and you’ll probably want to wear it as there is only one way up the mountain (about 6000 feet) and one way down the mountain. You’ll be passing people going either direction, with no guard-rail; not for the faint of heart.
Mi Teleférico – Bolivia, South America
This brand new cable car system is intended to absorb some of the traffic between La Paz and El Alto in Bolivia, reducing commuter congestion. For about .50 cents American, you can ride to your destination in a box dangling a mere 13,000 feet above sea level.
Skydeck Chicago – Chicago, Illinois
Skydeck Chicago is a glass box 1300 feet off the ground in which you can step into and look through the floor at the ground 103 floors beneath your feet. It’s a brand new way to view the city, and also, there was that day last week (May 28th, 2014) when the protective coating shattered under the feet of tourists...
If you can watch this Viral Video of 2 Russians sneaking into the Shanghai Tower construction site at night and climbing up to 650 meters in the air, you're getting ahead in your confronting your fear of heights.