Could This Be the World's Most Extreme Commute?

Think your commute's rough? Try being a resident of Yushan village in China's Hubei Province, where a zipline suspended over 1,500 feet high serves as the sole means of accessing the outside world. Let's see you complain about rush hour traffic now.

A tiny, Diesel-powered tram is precariously hung from the line, a pair of cables that stretch over 3,000 feet between the remote mountain village and the nearest cliff face. Actually, "tram" is putting it generously--it's an open cage just large enough for a couple of people (or some of the supplies the town requires to sustain itself). And while there are plans to build a road to Yushan, it might be some time before they retire the old shopping-cart-attached-to-a-rope mode of transportation.

As Daily Mail reports, Yushan resident Zhang Xinjian has been maintaining the town's zipline for the past 15 years, a position that involves oiling the cables once a week (no, you won't find it on AOL Jobs). That means pulling himself along as he stands atop the cart like an overzealous trapeze artist and lubricates the ropes by hand. Let me repeat: the cart is over 1,500 feet off the ground.

"I started to work at this spot since the rope was set up. No one would take the job," Zhang told the Mail. "In the beginning, my father, my younger brother and I took care of the cableway together, but later my younger brother quit and my father's health went bad, so it's only me that could do the job."

In the pre-zipline days, villagers had to walk for several days just to reach the nearest town. Try thinking about that the next time you're stuck on the subway or sitting in gridlocked traffic, and be grateful for the fact that you're not reenacting a scene from Cliffhanger every morning.

Commuting in Yushan, China
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Could This Be the World's Most Extreme Commute?
Commuting by zipline in Yushan, China.
Man with a tram: Zhang Xinjian has manned Yushan's zipline system for 15 years.
"Must be this tall to ride" doesn't seem to apply here.
Another day, another ride in a metal box 1,500 feet above the world.
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