Written by By Samira Shackle, CNN
Mountaineers who’ve set off from the summit of almost any mountain encounter one of the world’s most formidable obstacles: rugged terrain.
But one Indian viewer’s photos of the beast of a climbing wall may just be the most impressive — or terrifying.
The photos show a signpost on the edge of a mountain in a state of precipitous, disorientating waves of vertical rock.
Photographer Gulshan Kumar, who lives in the Western Ghats, in Kerala, India, recently took a break from his own climb and ventured to snap his new friends on the viewing platform.
Luckily Kumar was prepared with his own camera — and his caution — and snapped away before things got tricky.
Local legends often involve a warning sign that rides the very edge of the mountaintop, warning of dangerous falls, the photographer said.
He wasn’t so lucky.
Kumar received five such warnings from a friend on his ascent up Mount Kaksi, the tallest peak in the Western Ghats.
What followed was a cat-and-mouse game between Kumar and the alcove’s ledge — a wobbly, 180-degree angle of cliff face with no visible ledge or path, endangering any climber or wannabe climber walking through it.
“If you strayed in a [non-yielding] direction, then it would take a good 90 seconds to catch your breath in which you would think about what exactly you would be exposed to,” Kumar told CNN.
To make matters worse, Kumar said, the ridge “offers no protection from direct falls in either direction.”
As you might imagine, Kumar was an reluctant photographer — and decided not to take the mountain risk.
Fortunately, Kumar posted these photos to his Instagram account, where he is a seasoned cameraman.
The photos got a huge response — and not just because they are so remarkable.
Kumar’s neighbors are mountain climbers, having struggled up some of the Western Ghats’ most formidable peaks.
His shoot has become a viral hit and Kumar can’t believe the response from the mountain community.
“It reminds me of the growth in the stature of Western Ghats — not just as a mountaineering destination but also in the broader regions of India,” he told CNN.
“Their level of adventure is at par with those in Afghanistan and Pakistan — and this shoots that fact wider.”