''SHANGRI-LA'' CAVE PICTURES: Art, Texts, Bones Revealed

''SHANGRI-LA'' CAVE PICTURES: Art, Texts, Bones Revealed
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Climber Renan Ozturk makes his way up the sheer cliff face that houses the remote Mustang caves in 2008.

With special permission from the Nepalese government, Ozturk and veteran mountaineer Pete Athans fixed three-foot-long (almost one-meter-long) anchors deep into the crumbling walls as part of a 2008 expedition to explore the human-made caves, writes expedition co-leader and Himalaya expert Broughton Coburn.

(Get Coburn's impressions of the challenges of reaching the "Shangri-La" caves in the December/January issue of National Geographic Adventure magazine.)

Despite the caves' perches, high above the river valley, the treasures inside are at risk from looters and souvenir collectors, as well as erosion, earthquakes, and infrequent but torrential rains.

ON TV Lost Cave Temples of the Himalayas and Secrets of Shangri-La premiere Wednesday, November 18, on PBS (check local listings).

—Photograph courtesy Kris Erickson
 
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