Touching the Void

was about 100m of the
most nightmarish climbing.

Completely unstable powder snow.
No anchors at any point.
It was physically very, very
tiring, full-body climbing really.

It took us the best part of 5 or
6 hours to climb about 65 meters.

Carried on way after it got dark.
I was getting extremely cold,
'cause I was sitting still

while Simon was trying to climb.
I was getting near hypothermic.
You just knew that if you'd
just carried on, regardless,

it was gonna go tits up.
So we dug a snow cave.
In the morning, in good weather,
we actually saw what
we'd been trying to climb.

It was this undeering nightmare of
flutings of the finest powder
gouged out by snow falling down

meringues, and mushrooms, and
cornices all over the place.

We'd heard about these strange powder
snow conditions you get in the Andes,

and we've never seen it before.
I don't know the physics that explains why
powder snow can stay on such steep slopes.

In the Alps it would just slide off
if the slope was about 40 degrees.