Even though the Himalaya climbing season is all but over, I have lots of Everest-centric news to share today, starting with a new project that features legendary documentary filmmaker and explorer David Breashears and tech-giant Microsoft joining forces. Today, they have launched Everest: Rivers of Ice, an interactive website that lets armchair mountaineers explore the world’s tallest peak without ever leaving home.
The project combines some of the high-resolution imagery that Breashears took as part of his Glacierworks project with the touch-technology behind Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10, to create an experience unlike any other. Visitors to the site will be able to take a virtual trek up the Khumbu Valley, visiting many well known places along the way like Lukla, Namche Bazaar and Gorak Shep, before arriving in Everest Base Camp itself. Beautiful panoramic shots capture the region nicely, as does a spectacular video fly-by of Everest itself.
The Everest: Rivers of Ice website is created with HTML5, which means it should work on any browser that supports that standard. But to get the true effect in all its glory, you’ll definitely want to check it out on Win 8 and with IE 10. Not only will it give you a sense of the scale of the mountain itself, it’ll also show you what it is like to trek through the Himalaya just to get there.
I’ve written about Glacierworks before and feel that it is an important project for raising awareness of the impact of global climate change on the glaciers in the Himalaya. Breashears has taken photos of the Khumbu Valley from today and compared them to images taken the same spot in the past and the differences are alarming. The glaciers are in full retreat, taking a vital source of water for the people of the Himalaya with them. This is becoming a serious issue and projects like this one are helping us to understand the implications. Be sure to check out Everest: Rivers of Ice for more about the changes in the region and to take in the beauty of the mountains yourself.
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