Is Sky Camping in China Real?

An amazing natural rock formation beneath a blue sky in China.

When’s the last time you looked at a photo and asked yourself the famous question: is this real life or is this just fantasy? For all we know, there’s a fair chance you ask yourself that one quite a lot. However, some of the photos you stumble upon online tend to walk the real-life/fantasy border so well and therefore stick with you more than the rest.

Needless to say, our today’s article is about one of the photos we described in the last sentence. You might’ve seen it on your parent’s Facebook feed or some of the subreddits. Whatever’s the case – it doesn’t really matter (to me-e-e-e). Okay, now we’ll stop quoting Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Instead, let’s see if the famous sky camping in China photo is real or not.

Here’s the simplest answer: it’s not real, since there’s no such a thing as sky camping and the photo everyone’s sharing is showing Mount Piana, a mountain in northeastern Italy. However, this photo is not photoshopped and it shows us folks practicing so-called extreme hammocking, dangling above a few thousand feet worth of air. 

Wondering if there’s more to this mystery? Continue scrolling!

Table of Contents

The origin of the story

As with every suspicious story out there, it seems everything started with a Facebook post. It showed a picture of people resting in hammocks that were set up above what seems to be a couple of thousands of meters above the ground. It showed folks can hammock just about anywhere (or can they, really?) There was no explanation except a tiny title that went: Sky camping in Shanghai, China. Afterward, the picture went viral and appeared on just about every social media platform or online message board out there.

Of course, the original post on Facebook garnered much attention. Most folks were wondering: how did they get up there? what happens once they fall asleep? how can they relax while being so high above the ground? Of course, there were also joke attempts such as this one, for instance: it’s hard to get up there, it’s fairly easy to get down. 

Before we debunk or confirm such a thing as sky camping in Chine ever happened, it might be best to see if there’s even such an activity as sky camping. Meet you downstairs.

What is sky camping?

As far as we know, there isn’t an activity that nature-lovers worldwide recognize as sky camping. There are certain spots like this one in Slovenia that offer something you could call sky camping. However, this type of camping still hasn’t become a thing among the worldwide camping community. Also, we can’t really say that the whole sky-camping-in-Shanghai-China photo really has anything to do with traditional camping (as we didn’t see any tents, only hammocks).

To conclude: there’s no such thing as sky camping (at least at this moment in time).

Back to the sky-camping-in-China photo

Commenting on the reaction of folks who’ve seen the infamous Facebook post, we’ve intentionally missed mentioning a few things. The first one might be the comments such as there are no mountains in Shanghai, or this is definitely not China. The other thing we “forgot” to add might be the comments of folks claiming to know the exact place where the photo was taken: Italy. So, who’s right?

Needless to say, both groups of comments were correct. The photo clearly wasn’t taken anywhere near Shanghai. The whole sky-high hammocking (yup, not camping) extravaganza happened at Monte Piana, a 2.324-m mountain in north-eastern Italy. It occurred in September of 2014.

So, yeah, it’s safe to say that sky-camping-in-China photo isn’t entirely real. First of all, it clearly wasn’t photoshopped (which makes it real). Secondly, it neither depicts an outdoor activity called sky camping nor was it taken near Shanghai, China. Our final answer: the photo’s real, the description’s not. Folks definitely shouldn’t believe everything they read on the web (as if someone needs to tell you that, right?).

Yet another question

If it wasn’t sky camping, then: what was it? Well, there’s a neat little activity you might’ve heard about called extreme hammocking. If this is the first time you’re hearing about it, you might want to check out the next paragraph. But first, a photo of the scenic Monte Piana mountain just so you could see we’re not spreading unproven rumors.

Monte Piana mountain in Northern Italy, the actual place the sky camping in China happened.

Extreme hammocking 101

A before-we-begin disclaimer: in no way do we encourage anyone to try this one out.

Okay, so let’s start this one out with the most obvious of questions.

What is extreme hammocking?

Needless to mention, extreme hammocking’s all about the adventure, to say the least. It seems the main objective of this activity is to hang a hammock someplace where no one has ever tried to hang one before. It’s no wonder many extreme hammocking sessions occur at pretty darn high altitudes. We’re talking about several thousand meters (or feet).

If you want to become an extreme hammocking enthusiast, you have to be a master at two closely related activities: slacklining and highlining.

The first one (slacklining) represents the sole act of walking on a piece of webbing that is strung tightly like a guitar string between two points. The trees often serve as the mentioned points. It’s not a sport that’s easy to master. However, it’s still enjoyed by many folks around the globe.

The second one (highlining) is an activity much like slacklining. Their biggest difference lies in the fact highlining occurs at hundreds, sometimes even thousands of meters above the ground. That’s exactly why folks who practice this activity water climbing harnesses and stick to rigid safety measures.

The thing is: you need to master both activities/techniques/sports/however-you-want-to-call-them in order to hand a hammock at such supreme heights and, of course, enter & exit the hammock.

For tips on you-know-just-the-usual hammocking, follow this link.

Where did the idea come from?

As a matter of fact, extreme hammocking didn’t just appear out of nowhere. The idea of “residing” inside a hammock strung so high along a cliff or a canyon actually comes from big wall climbing. While practicing this activity (multi-night big wall climbs), climbers use portalegdes to sleep safe & secure above hundreds or thousands of meters of nothing but thin air.

Is extreme hammocking safe?

There’s no need to emphasize the fact extreme hammocking is, by all means, very dangerous. Not only are you required to master slacklining, highlining, rock climbing, and other useful activities, but you have to possess a great deal of experience using hammocks themselves. Also, you’ll have to possess an otherworldly attend to detail, the right equipment, and follow all the necessary safety precautions that minimize the risk to a certain point, which are still not enough to call this activity safe.

What about extreme hammocking gear?

Here we’ll introduce you to a list of all the necessary equipment one must needs when trying out this dangerous activity:

  • A strong & reliable hammock. Needless to say, a high-quality hammock is absolutely and by all means essential. Your hammock needs to be strong, durable & reliable, and, of course, fairly easy to use.
  • Top-quality hammock straps. These are also a must, so to speak. The more versatile and durable the straps, the better the experience as extreme hammocking often goes together with a somewhat are-you-out-of-your-mind unique set of challenges.
  • Other high-quality components. Aside from the straps, all other components of your trusty hammock need to be strong and reliable. Expert practitioners of this activity (and you’ve got to be one in order to enjoy and avoid accidents) say that it’s best to swap out hammock components (such as carabiners) with heavy-duty versions such as those you’ll see in rock climbing.
  • A very long, yet strong slackline. Most of the time, extreme hammocking demands a slackline, superficially when you’re dangling over a canyon or a cliff.
  • Safety gear. For instance, you’ll need a top-notch climbing rope since you’ll use it to set the slackline up. Also, the rope will serve as safety protection, of course. Here are other parts of the necessary safety equipment: superstrong carabiners, rope brakes, and a climbing harness. Keep in mind safety is the no.1 thing when it comes to extreme hammocking.

So, is sky camping in China real?

Since we’re pretty close to the end margin of this article, it’s best we do something of a summary. So, is sky camping in China real? There’s no such thing as sky camping and the photo that launched the hysteria surrounding the supposed activity was taken in northeastern Italy, at Monte Piano mountain, not China. You’ll want to know that was something outdoor lovers call an extreme hammocking session.

Parting thoughts

That’s about it, folks! This was probably not the first time we’ve debunked something suspicious that we’ve stumbled upon online. Anyway, we hope you’ve enjoyed scrolling through this one! Now you’re equipped with the necessary knowledge to be the cool person at the party who’ll tell someone sky climbing in China isn’t really a thing. All in all: thanks for reading!

If you’re on the lookout for more tips on camping, make sure you pay a visit to this page.

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