Cliffside caves in the former kingdom of Mustang are giving up their secrets.
To reach a series of caves dug into a cliff 155 feet above the valley floor, Matt Segal scales a rock face so fragile it often breaks off to the touch. Linked by a ledge, the 800-year-old caves, empty now, may once have stored manuscripts. Image © Cory Richards/National Geographic Larger image
Climbers and scientists follow a trail above the Kali Gandaki River in Nepal’s remote Mustang region. More than 60 feet above are rows of unexplored man-made caves dug centuries ago. There may be thousands in the region.
The images are in the October 2012 issue of National Geographic magazine, on newsstands September 25.
Walkie-talkie in one hand and human jawbone in the other, expedition leader Pete Athans picks his way through a looted mortuary cave while Segal surveys a pit from which robbers tossed bones. Scientists hope that DNA from teeth will help pinpoint the origins of the bodies.
source National Geographic