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Lost Cave Temples Of The Himalaya

Airs Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV

Credit: Pete Athans ©2009 National Geographic Television

Above: A cave complex in Upper Mustang, Nepal. In a remote corner of the Himalaya, in the forbidden Kingdom of Mustang, a team of climbers clambers into mysterious caves for the first time and uncovers ancient cave temples lost to the modern world.

In a remote corner of the Himalaya, in the forbidden Kingdom of Mustang, mysterious caves, perched high on cliff faces and carved by humans thousands of years ago, have lain just beyond reach — until recently. In April of 2007, a team of climbers and scientists climbed inside the long-hidden chambers for the first time in modern history.

This film follows the riveting story, told by filmmaker Liesl Clark, about her husband, seven-time Everest summiter Pete Athans, and big-wall climber Renan Ozturk, who take on the dangerous job of climbing into the crumbling caves, searching for nine legendary cave temples called “kabum.” What they find goes far beyond their expectations, as their cameras document every hair-raising move.

It’s an explorer’s dream … until the unexpected happens: A posse of local horsemen gallops up while Ozturk is perched high on a dangerously eroding cliff. The climbers intend to document and preserve what may be inside the cave, but the site is sacred to the locals.

Dramatically heightening the stakes, the villagers start pulling on the ropes, placing weight on the fragile anchors; they then demand payment. Should the team set a precedent by paying the locals to climb into their cave? Should they risk violating the sacred in a dangerous effort to preserve it?

Preview: Lost Cave Temples Of The Himalaya

Watch a preview of "Lost Cave Temples Of The Himalaya."

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