Steel stairway offers safe climb to school for cliff-top kids
By, Published: 2016-11-21 18:22:47
A primary school boy nimbly climbs the steel staircase for the first time on November 19. 20 schoolchildren from the village took the new route on the way home from school that day, saving around half an hour in the process. Photo: CFP
Editor's Note:
Children living in a cliff-top mountain village in southwestern China can now climb a secure steel stairway to and from school, having been installed in early November, the Beijing News reported. Previously, the only way for villagers to get in and out of the village was to climb 17 rattan ladders that hung the length of the cliff. Perched around 800 meters above the valley floor, Atuleer is an isolated village in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province. The village started to construct the stairway in August with the help of the 1 million yuan ($144,991) they raised after images of the schoolchildren climbing the old vine ladders drew worldwide attention in May.

A six-year-old girl climbs the staircase with her father following closely behind. Before the new path was finished, the girl’s father had to tie her to himself with a rope or carry her on his back when climbing the rattan ladders to and from school. Photo: CFP
Local villagers climb up an 800-meter cliff on a steel ladder in a mountainous area in Atuleer village, Zhaojue county, Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, on November 9, 2016. Photo: IC
Children climb up the steel staircase, which rises at an incline of 60 degrees instead of the almost vertical rattan ladders. The new staircase required 40 tons of steel to complete. Photo: CFP
School children take a rest on a segment of the steel staircase. The construction team coated each rung with anti-rust paint, which should allow the staircase to withstand the elements for 10-20 years, according to the Beijing News report. Photo: CFP
The children approach the final cliff on the journey home. With the steel staircase in place, the rattan ladders that hang vertically down the face of the mountain lie untouched. Photo: CFP
A villager named Shi Ga uses a rope to tie himself to his 7-year-old son the first time they climb the steel staircase. “It’s easier to climb up now,” said Shi, carrying his 4-year-old son on his back. Even though the new path is in place, he still uses the rope in case his son has trouble adapting to the staircase. Photo: CFP
Children wash their faces with puddle water after arriving at the final rest stop on the climb home. The local county is planning to build a new, safer road leading to the cliff-top village, requiring a total investment of 35.1 million yuan ($5.09 million), the report said. Photo: CFP