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'Spiderwoman' in Getu River, Guizhou

By Shi Zihan ( chinadaily.com.cn )

Updated: 2016-04-22

On a workday most of us drag ourselves out of bed, endure the busy morning commute and pass away the next eight hours plying our craft in relative monotony. A workday for Luo Dengping is much different.

Dangling from slippery cave walls 100 meters up from the floor below, Luo Dengping maneuvers across the steep rocks and crags in a dramatic high-wire climbing act to the amazement of spectators below.

Luo, known locally as "Spiderwoman", is the only female member of a troupe of climbers who entertain visitors to the Getu River Scenic area in Guizhou, with their death-defying acts of high-altitude bravery on a daily basis.

The Getu River area has a long history of climbing. In the past, locals would have to scale the treacherous cliff face to collect swallow's droppings to use as fertilizer. Today however, climbing is more of an ethnic ritual, performed for tourists who stand aghast as the climbers, using their bare hands and no safety equipment, navigate 108 meters up the walls of the caves and down again in less than 20 minutes. Six rock climbers put on "Spiderman" shows every day of the week..

"I have been climbing rocks for several decades," says Luo, who was taught how to climb at the age of 15 by her father.

However high risk also brings high income. "On average, I earn 3,000 yuan ($463) every month. But during the peak season, the salary can reach 8,000 yuan," Luo said with satisfaction. "I'm happy that I can support my family through my hard work."

'Spiderwoman' in Getu River, Guizhou

Luo hands covered with thick calluses cover from years' of climbing. [Photo/gzdsw.com]

'Spiderwoman' in Getu River, Guizhou

Luo clings onto the steep rocks with her bare hands. [Photo/gzdsw.com]

'Spiderwoman' in Getu River, Guizhou

Luo, or "Spiderwoman", is the only female rock climbing performer in the Getu River scenic area in Guizhou. [Photo/gzdsw.com]

Edited by Owen Fishwick

Ethnic Culture
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