'Spidermen' of the cliffs

Updated: 2011-10-04 09:30

By Fu Zhiyong (China Daily)

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'Spidermen' of the cliffs

Supplies first arrive by cable car and are then carried to the construction site. [Photo by Fu Zhiyong/China Daily]

'Spidermen' of the cliffs

Bags of cement are delivered by workers to one of the most hazardous construction sites in the world. [Photo by Fu Zhiyong/China Daily]

Erecting viewing platforms on mountains requires nerves of steel, as Fu Zhiyong reports.

In some scenic spots, with steep mountainous terrain, walkways are placed along the cliff face to allow tourists a better view.

These walkways are securely positioned by specialist workers with a head for heights.

The workers, mostly in their forties, come from East China's Jiangxi province. Their skill takes them from mountain to mountain across China and has given them the well-earned and entirely appropriate nickname, "Spidermen" of the cliffs.

Yu Jifa, 48, started work on the walkway crew about ten years ago and since then has spent most of his working hours on the cliffs that can reach thousands of meters high.

Yu used to work on "ordinary" construction sites and was mainly in charge of laying steel frames for skyscrapers. His early job experience gave him the expertise, and the necessary head for heights, for this job.

He is now in charge of the most crucial and dangerous job: the setting up the scaffolding.

Yu modestly said his job is nothing special, nothing more than a way to put food on the table.

"It is not as dangerous as it seems. The key is fastening the safety belts and taking enough safety measures, besides being careful yourself," Yu said almost nonchalantly.

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