Once you take the Explorer's Idol, go through the cages, then Rising Strike to the interior platform and roll through a small opening in the side to get out of the cages.
You can't get into the cages from the other end (where the second "bridge" is)—you have to do it from on top of the hanging crate described earlier. Also, I do not know whether you can do this on the way through for the first time going towards the Crystal Cavern, simply because I never tried.
If i'm understanding your question correctly, you can't use the rising strike tojump that high. You have to out to the swinging vine, and then swing up onto the plane.
Hey 1995hoo - I've been going back through the game to get all the idols I missed the first time. There's one at the Monoliths site that gave me trouble the first time through, but I thought with TNT I'd be able to get it. It's the one half-buried in snow, with what looks like a frozen figure on top of the monument. Do you remember how you got that one? TNT and nothing else I've tried have helped. Thanks.
I just got the gas mask (already have canteen, torch, sling shot, and shield). How can I select the gas mask so I can use it? I confirmed I have it by going to Inventory, but all four spots on my controller are taken up with the other items. I can't seem to select it like I can my other items.