A video of climbers sleeping in tents suspended on the side of one of three peaks reaching up to around 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) above sea level in Torres del Paine National Park has gone viral on Instagram.

The video was captured in early February by Siebe Vanhee (@siebevanhee), a 32-year-old full-time professional climber from Belgium, in the Chilean part of Patagonia, a region in South America spanning mostly across the southern portion of mainland Argentina and a part of Chile. The footage has garnered over 101,000 likes since it was posted on February 25.

The clip shows Vanhee sitting inside one of two tents, known as portaledges, hanging on ropes secured around the rockface of the peak. A caption shared with the post says: “Our 5 star hotel in Patagonia!”

Vanhee told Newsweek that he and the other climbers were “making fun” of “incredible strong wind shaking us around” in the latest video. The footage, captured with a GoPro 360 camera using a selfie stick (which is cut out of the frame via Instagram’s 360-degree function), features dizzying views down the side of the mountain and the howling sound of the wind blowing against the tents.

Climbers in tents on peak in Patagonia.
Screengrabs from a video of climbers in hanging tents suspended on the side of the Torres Central peak in Patagonia. Siebe Vanhee said he’s been adventure climbing for 14 years.

Siebe Vanhee @siebevanhee on Instagram

Vanhee and the three other professional climbers—including Drew Smith from the United States, who is also a climbing photographer, and Sean Villanueva and Nicolas Favresse, both from Belgium—completed the first-ever free ascent of the “Riders on the Storm” climbing route on the east face of Torres Central, the middle tower of the Torres del Paine granite peaks.

A free ascent refers to free climbing, a type of rock climbing that involves using only your own strength to progress upwards, with climbing equipment only used for protection and not for ascending the wall.

The latest footage left users on Instagram terrified, which comes as no surprise because while climbing accidents are rare, around 10 percent of all mountain accidents are climbing-related, according to a January 2020 study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Rock climbing, which originated in the 1960s, has become an increasingly popular sport. Along with its rising popularity, “the number of climbing accidents and emergency department consultations due to climbing-related injuries has reportedly increased,” the study said.

Citing research from Colorado, the study said that rock climbing rescues accounted for around 20 percent of mountain and wilderness rescue victims, adding that “climbing accidents usually affect a young and healthy population.”

‘I Can’t Believe It Holds’

The demanding “Riders on the Storm” route stretches over 1,200 meters (around 3,937 feet) of vertical granite.

Vanhee told Newsweek: “To make progress on a wall that big, we are obliged to bring up our hanging tents…to sleep on the wall and be protected from the very intense weather conditions,” such as snow, cold, rain and winds up to 140 kilometers (around 87 miles) per hour.

A climb like this can take a few days to a few weeks but due to the bad weather, Vanhee said the climb took 18 days to complete, with 17 nights spent in the portaledge, as temperatures ranged between 10 degrees Celsius and -5 degrees Celsius.

The professional climber said that the portaledges “can hold a lot of weight” but he’s “not exactly sure how much.” The portaledge can be fixed onto a bolt, which is drilled into the rock, or on a “nut or stopper,” as shown in the viral clip.

Vanhee, who has been climbing since 10 and doing adventure climbing expeditions for 14 years, said that he’s “been on several big wall expeditions and slept many nights on the wall like that.”

Facing the camera while suspended on the side of the peak, Vanhee says in the video, “During the beautiful storms in those 18 days, we slept in a portaledge, hanging on a nut.”

He continued, “I can’t believe it holds but even if it wouldn’t have held, there was a bolt up there. So, not so badass,” as the video shows closeups up the nut and bolt features.

Users on Instagram were stunned by the clip, such as @wildeyed13, who wrote “I am truly amazed, but I think there is something inherently wrong with this ha ha ha. But again awesome!”

“18 days stuck to the wall during the storm!!!! That’s nuts,” said @__kingjoffy__.

User @nabucho.sophie2030 said “It’s scary” while @bourdomarie wrote “Insane! Cool.”

“Are you crazy?” asked @marina.stapleton1 while @laurietrippi wrote “Good for you! Not a chance would you find me doing this.”

User @johnmeye57 agreed, commenting: “Not in 1 million years.”

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