You walk along this man-made shelf to get to the entrance of the rock-cut church. According to Lonely Planet this is the scariest part of the climb.
These girls were wonderfully colorful in their everyday dress, but I do not know what the twine signifies.
This shot was taken in March 2007. The stela may have been re-erected by now.
The 3 inch diameter rope is braided from strips of hide. (Foreigners have a hide safety rope tied around their waists which is hauled on by 3 strong kids at the top.)
Be sure to look at "the bridge to prosperity" located about 20 km downstream (Southeast).
These bushes have the most amazing spines that I have ever seen. The longest are an inch (2.5 cm) long.
While the herd of Ibex slowly passed us about 100 feet away our Scout kept getting more and more excited. He counted them several times (24 or 25 in the herd) wrote out a statement of how many there were in Amharic on a piece of scratch paper and had our driver confirm it. Then he asked me and Steve to sign it. I think he got credit back at the office in Debark for finding so many.
This procession went on for 20 minutes.
They were interested in us, but not terribly bothered. We walked to within 100 feet (about 30 meters) taking many pictures while they meandered along munching grass and leaves.
I was keeping well behind the lip of the hill while this was going on. (Although I did want a good picture.) The poachers hid before our Scout let go with any bullets from his AK-47.