The Aiguille du Midi, or Needle of the South, has been home to the terrifying highest vertical ascent cable car in the world for three decades. But this month, it's stepping up its scaring-the-wits-out-of-tourists game—with a glass box that hangs over the yawning void next to the peak.

Image: Alexis Moro/AP.

The installation is called Step Into the Void, and it looks simple enough: five panes of super-strong glass—each containing three discrete sheets—are held in place by a C-shaped steel mechanism mounted to the rock face.


Visitors to the glass box—which opened this weekend—find themselves above a half-mile vertical drop, taller than any other similar "skyroom" installation, like the one at Willis Tower in Chicago. The closest ground underneath them will be some 3,300 feet below—but the peak hardly ends there. Aiguille du Midi, which is part of the Mont Blanc massif, is 11,526 feet high.

The project was designed by the French architect Pierre-Yves Chays, and took three years to see through to completion. But it's only part of a larger renovation project at the peak that includes the construction of a mountaineering museum that will hold the title of world's tallest museum when it's finished.

This is hardly the first Alpine tourist attraction that's designed to scare visitors witless, though: Check out this suspension bridge that hangs 1,300 feet above the Alps in Austria. [Chamonix; Guardian]

Image: Alexis Moro/AP.

Image: Alexis Moro/AP.

Images: Chamoni.