It takes an exceptionally brave man to plunge down into the crater of a volcano. And you have to wonder a little about his sanity if he does so just to grab some cool footage and a better view of a lake filled with swirling molten lava. 

It seems Geoff Mackley, a daredevil filmmaker from New Zealand who loves a hard challenge, did just that recently. Geoff, along with his small team, completed a grueling journey, which last nearly two months, to the edge of the Ambrym Volcano on the tiny Pacific island nation of the Republic of Vanuatu.

Mackley’s goal was to drop down into Ambrym volcano, and get extremely close to the Ambrym lava lake -- closer than any human being has ever managed before.

This incredible feat was anything but a walk in the park. In addition to a fairly treacherous climb, Geoff and his crew had to deal with scorching temperatures that often exceeded 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. If that weren't bad enough, the filmmaker had to clunk about, climb, and try not to fall while wearing a bulky heatproof proximity suit, as well as a special breathing device.

Without the extra heavy-duty protection, Mackley would have only been able to stand next to the lava lake for a few seconds. Otherwise he would have been cooked. After donning his special gear, he was able to spend 40 minutes next to the mass of bubbling molten rock.

Mackley, along with team member Bradley Ambrose, climbed down 400 meters (1,312 feet) of rock and stood next to one of the planet’s most amazing sights. The pictures they brought back are reminiscent of various descriptions of the pits of hell.

Adventurers as audacious as these guys have definitely earned the right to boast that they’re the most hardcore explorers, and filmmakers around.