<p class="MsoNormal"><br> Climber John “Razor Sharp” Benson plans his next move during a traverse of the ultrasharp tsingy pinnacles in the 600-square-mile Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park and Preserve on Madagascar. The imposing limestone spires form a veritable citadel for flora and fauna, allowing them to thrive while much of the rest of the island is ravaged by human settlement, livestock, and deforestation. But this kind of protection comes with a price for the few brave scientists and explorers that manage to make the five-day haul to the park's edge. The expedition was painstakingly slowgoing—the team managed to pierce their boot soles and writer Nick Shea's knee before clearing the tsingy.</p>

Climbing Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park and Preserve, Madagascar


Climber John “Razor Sharp” Benson plans his next move during a traverse of the ultrasharp tsingy pinnacles in the 600-square-mile Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park and Preserve on Madagascar. The imposing limestone spires form a veritable citadel for flora and fauna, allowing them to thrive while much of the rest of the island is ravaged by human settlement, livestock, and deforestation. But this kind of protection comes with a price for the few brave scientists and explorers that manage to make the five-day haul to the park's edge. The expedition was painstakingly slowgoing—the team managed to pierce their boot soles and writer Nick Shea's knee before clearing the tsingy.

Photograph by Stephen Alvarez, National Geographic

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Climb an active volcano in Russia, traverse limestone spires in Madagascar, and descend into the crystal caves of Mexico with these National Geographic photographers' images.

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