On Wednesday, Google unleashed an exciting new project for extreme sports nuts and nature enthusiasts alike: vertical street view. And what better way to launch the new format than by capturing the 3,000-foot ascent of Yosemite National Park’s infamous El Capitan?
To pull this off, Google and the National Park Service approached seasoned climbers Lynn Hill, Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell, who paired with photographers Brett Lowell and Corey Rich to bring the world something truly unprecedented: a fully interactive virtual climb.
Presenting, the inaugural Google Vertical Street View:
Click around, you know you want to…
On your ascent, you’ll encounter the team in various stages of their climb:
Here, Tommy and Lynn pose victorious on their way to the top.
And here, Alex flirts with death by hovering thousands of feet above the ground, suspended only by his rope.
And though the product is spectacular, the project was not without its major hurdles:
According to the Google Blog, one of the main challenges was trying to figure out just how to map the cliff face with camera gear that, frankly, was never meant for this purpose.
In the post, Tommy Caldwell noted: “Doing anything thousands of feet high on a sheer granite face is complicated, but everyone up there had spent years of their lives on a rope and knew exactly what they were doing. After some testing, we used our tried-and-true climbing gear like cams and ropes to make sure the camera wouldn’t fall to the ground in the middle of our Street View collection.”
To learn more about the project and the climbers, check out the documentary here: