Courtesy Cave of Letters Expedition

A solitary climber prepares to scale the last section of cliff wall before reaching one of the entrances to the Cave of Letters, an ancient hideout in the Judean wilderness. The cave’s entrances lie 300 feet below the desert plateau and 650 above the valley floor; they can only be approached via a twisting path from the plateau that leads to a narrow ledge about 30 feet below the entrance. From there, explorers must mount ladders to gain entry.