At home with a dare­devil

Un­usual home matches cou­ple’s in­trigu­ing busi­ness help­ing peo­ple ex­plore their in­ner ad­ven­turer

Grand Magazine - - FEATURE - By Michael Strick­land Photography To­masz Adamski

THE DOOR TO HELL in Turk­menistan may share the same planet as the Elora Gorge, but the two big holes in the ground might as well be worlds apart.

The Elora Gorge is, of course, a well­known lo­cal tourist at­trac­tion. Roughly two kilo­me­tres long, its steep lime­stone cliffs reach up 22 me­tres. The scenic won­der lures out­door en­thu­si­asts with ac­tiv­i­ties that in­clude camp­ing, ca­noe­ing and climb­ing.

The Door to Hell is con­sid­er­ably less hos­pitable. Lo­cated in the for­mer Soviet Union, it’s a nat­u­ral gas fire – roughly the size of two foot­ball fields and 10 storeys deep – reek­ing of sul­fur. Tem­per­a­tures reach 400 C at the bot­tom and it has burned con­tin­u­ously for at least four decades.

But when Ge­orge Kourou­nis, a mod­ern­day ex­plorer and host of the TV se­ries An­gry Planet, wanted video of him­self zip lining over the Door to Hell, the plan­ning led him to Elora-based adventure guide Fred­er­ick Schuett.

Schuett and his wife, Christa Ni­ravong,


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