More than 200 people have perished climbing the Himalayas' Mount Everest, falling victim to some combination of cold weather, altitude sickness, falls from dizzying heights, or the leadership of overly manly men (check out Into Thin Air). Now add the world's largest honey bees (coming in at up to 1.2 inches) and things get downright terrifying.
As captured in these stunning images from 1987, photographer Eric Valli was intrepid enough to photograph the Gurung men of Nepal on their biannual bee hunt, who dangle from cliffs harnessed on rope ladders and descending many feet below to collect huge swaths of honeycomb. While the men aren't quite navigating the ice and snow of Everest, they still go as high as 13,500 feet above sea level for precious red honey unique to this region and altitude. This red honey is known for its intoxicating and relaxing qualities and therefore commands a pretty penny when sold.
I'm sure the Gurung know what they're doing – smoking the bees out of their hive is a solid approach – but an attack by a swarm of giant bees while hanging from a cliff on a rope ladder? The idea gives me vertigo just sitting at my desk.