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Why is it illegal to climb pyramids?

It’s because climbing them can kill you. Actually, climbing UP isn’t the problem, climbing DOWN is. A sweet friend of mine died falling down The Great Pyramid of Giza (also Khufu or Cheops) in 1980 during a college study-abroad program — it was a tragedy. I’d climbed it earlier that day with some other friends. With no serious fear of heights, it’s not too difficult for someone in reasonable shape to clamber up in 10–15 minutes.

On the descent, however, you basically have to jump down, rock by rock. Jump, jump, jump, hundreds of times. Remember, the pyramids were originally covered in polished limestone, they weren’t designed as stairs. What’s left are the ragged remains after pillagers later stripped off the limestone coating to construct local buildings. The stones are uneven, ranging from a few feet to 6+ feet tall (see the photos).

Many of the landing spots are smooth, slippery, and covered in 4,000 years of sand or loose rocks. They can be angled downward, narrow, or cracked. There are few trustworthy handholds. With the ignorant fearlessness of youth, the ascent felt exciting, not life-threatening. Climbing up, it never occurred to me that any minor misstep would be fatal.

Think of it as climbing the outside of a 45-story building without any safety equipment. You truly can’t understand exactly HOW perilous it is until you’re high up and already in serious jeopardy. Imagine jumping around the ledges outside your 35th-floor office window. I’d intended to climb to the top but when I stopped for the very first time perhaps 3/4 of the way up, turned around, and looked down, I promptly changed my mind. The unobstructed view 350 feet straight down was dizzying.

My friend was athletic but she must have slipped during her descent. In retrospect, this could have happened to anyone. It’s steeper than it appears, so once you lose your footing, you won’t stop falling until you’re at the bottom.

We later learned that her fall was not an isolated incident. Not long after, the Egyptian government made it illegal to scale the pyramids. Below are a few of my photos, for context.

The view from the climb, approaching the top:

The view up, from the base:

Photos (c) 2018 Ross Fishman


This information was taken from Quora. Click here to view the original post.

Did you think that climbing pyramids is illegal because of something else?

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What are your thoughts on this subject?
61 Comments
theresaade
I wish people had more respect for this ancient wonder. The main reason why people shouldn't climb any pyramid is because the pyramids will be destroyed eventually. But as in the case of endangered animals, humans will continue to destroy this beautiful planet until there's nothing left.
30
Oct 1, 2019 3:06AM
shellman
I feel they are sacred to them and out of respect to them stay off!
19
Jul 21, 2019 4:16PM
Laura Herendeen
It's not the fall that will kill you, it's the sudden stop at the bottom.
11
Feb 5, 2019 10:57PM
Eleanor Roberts
With the number of visitors to the pyramids in one year and if only half climbed up on them, they would be damaged and desecrated along with the natural erosion by wind and sun to the point there would be nothing left to see. Remember these monuments were built as tombs for the sacred people of the time. Respect for the efforts of the designers and workers is paramount. Long may they remain for many more visitors.
9
Dec 27, 2019 9:58PM
Lynn Davis White
I had no idea the stones were so irregular!!!
7
Jul 23, 2019 12:53PM
Susan Golebiewski
Wow! No one should be climbing the Pyramids.
6
Jan 8, 2020 7:51PM
Lynne Cage
Shows respect to the Egyptians to not climb their pyramids. As is the case finally to not climb all over our Aussie Uluru (previously known as Ayers Rock)
0
Oct 19, 2021 12:57AM
Gassan Couri
Just a thought ,why Don’t the Egyptian government cover The pyramids with polished lime stone to take them back to their past glory, and for future generations, I’ve wondered about that when I visited there Twenty one years ago ,the government are raking our tourist money by the buckets 🤔🤔🤔 ??
1
Oct 12, 2021 2:17AM
Paula Salem
Why would anyone even be allowed to climb them? They are a natural wonder. Enjoy looking at them, no need to touch and climb on them like a 5 year old
0
Sep 27, 2021 4:34PM
Carl Moore
Obviously no steps were provided here. So stay off! If you are at, say, the Cahokia (Illinois) mounds or at an ocean beache's dunes, you will see instructions to keep off except for stairs and walkways which have been provided. A different situation which is temporary is that a toddler can crawl up. stairs but doesn't know how to come down safely
0
Sep 8, 2021 8:28PM
hugo verwerft
traci gruschow, The same in 1998
0
Aug 17, 2021 4:43PM
Eileen Murphy
theresaade I agree.
0
Dec 2, 2020 6:06PM
Kamini Gangadeen Wight
It is a burial place and should be respected as such
4
Oct 29, 2020 7:36PM
Robert Shields
Your idea that the main reason should be the ancient structure which is important but not more important than human life. Your generation needs to learn to value human life not just the planet they are not mutually exclusive. Both are important God says love you neighbour and your enemy and be good stewarts of the planet.
1
Oct 23, 2020 1:30AM
Robert Shields
I knew it was too dangerous for the public but it would be ware and tear on an ancient structure. But youth require limits and direction for safety for themselves and the ancient structures. Too bad it was not instituted earlier after the first death. The young lady would be alive today.
0
Oct 23, 2020 1:17AM
magyymaze
My friend was at the great pyramids last year - 2018 - and they were allowed to stand on some of the bottom stones and have their pictures made.
3
Nov 12, 2019 5:54PM
mypineda
Looks like 3 of the sides of the pyramid to the Sun in Tenochtitlan, out side Mexico Cty. Merchants climb up the sides carrying their merchandise, using stones that are out cropping. They know the side they use so the make the accent look effortless, even using the steppsdown is difficult. There are 365, they are very narrow. But worth the effort when you get to the top.
1
Oct 19, 2019 5:31PM
traci gruschow
When I was in Giza in 1997, we were allowed inside the pyramid. The interior chamber was fascinating. I don't remember anyone climbing the exterior at that time.
4
Sep 4, 2019 12:06AM

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