Julian Sands discussed the dangers of mountaineering months before his death

'You may be confronted with human remains and that can be chilling,' the actor said in an interview

Julian Sands died while climbing Mount Baldy in LA County. Getty Images
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Julian Sands opened up about the "hypernatural" experience of confronting human remains while mountain climbing, in an interview shortly before searches for the British actor concluded in a similar manner.

His death was confirmed last week after human remains were found in the Mount Baldy area of the San Gabriel mountains in southern California.

The actor, who died aged 65, had been missing for more than five months after failing to return from a hike in January.

The latest edition of the Radio Times has an interview with Sands that took place months before his death.

Reflecting on his hiking experience, he told the magazine: "I've found spooky things on mountains, when you know you're in a place where many people have lost their lives, whether it be on the Eiger or in the Andes.

"You may be confronted with human remains and that can be chilling. It's not necessarily supernatural, it's possibly all too natural – what I would call hypernatural.

"You're in the presence of big nature and big nature is revealing itself in all its power. It can take us over a threshold of hypersensitivity into a realm of natural forces."

Searches by local authorities had been unsuccessful in the search for Sands, with poor weather conditions hampering efforts since March, until his remains were found by civilian hikers last month.

He was best-known for his breakout role in the 1985 romantic period drama A Room With A View, in which he starred alongside Helena Bonham Carter.

Sands later moved to the horror genre, with appearances in films including Gothic, Warlock and Arachnophobia.

The actor was also a keen climber and described the activity as "solace and a sort of existentialist self-negation, but equally a self-affirmation".

"If you can deal with dangerous mountains, you can certainly deal with life as an actor – the two are quite complementary," he added.

In the interview, Sands dismissed the suggestion that he was too old to climb, but said that friends who used to join him had stopped in part due to age.

He also noted that climate change had made certain rock faces more unstable.

Sands said: "If you don't really have the desire, the focus for climbing a route, if you're not absolutely committed, it becomes much more dangerous and it's a much more deflating experience.

"Finding folk whose company I enjoy in such stressful and intimate conditions is not easy.

"The thing about climbing is, you're always making plans and looking at routes – maybe you end up getting to 5 per cent of all the things you plan to do."

Sands was considered an experienced and competent mountaineer by his friends, with his hiking partner and fellow actor Kevin Ryan calling him "the most advanced hiker I know".

Updated: July 04, 2023, 10:11 AM