Do you ever wonder what it was like to climb those final few steps up to the summit of Mt. Everest with Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay when they made the first ascent of the mountain back in 1953? If so, then you may soon get the chance to witness that historical moment for yourself thanks to a new virtual reality project from a company called CGO Studios that is slated for release later this year.
The creative team at CGO specializes in making VR experiences that center around historical events. In the past, they’ve done projects that centered around the Wright Brothers’ first flight and they are currently putting the finishing touches on a digital visit to Anne Frank’s attic. But, the team is also knee deep in a project called “Everest ’53” that will take viewers high up the Himalayan peak, where they will join Hillary and Norgay as they approach the summit.
According to CGO, the team is creating its Everest project for use with the Oculus Rift VR goggles and its Touch controller. The virtual reality experience will immerse viewers in a 360º environment, and will equip them with historically accurate tools and gear to get them to the summit. The virtual environment will also replicate weather conditions on Everest on May 29, 1953 when Hillary and Norgay went to the summit for the first time, making the experience has real as possible. Both Peter Hillary and Jamling Tenzing Norgay – the sons of the two famous climbers – are assisting with the project, helping to deliver more realism.
The description for “Everest ’53” says that viewers will join Hillary and Norgay in the “final moments” of their ascent, but just where it will start is hard to say. Will it begin at the Hillary Step or closer to the top? Is it mostly going to just center around the view from the summit, or something else? We’ll have to wait to see for sure, but it is an intriguing premise to say the least.
I’ve had the chance to test a few VR experiences and can say that they are a lot of fun and offer some interesting tools to do unique things. For the most part, they’ll never replace actually going outside to take part in real-world activities, but I do think the technology holds a lot of promise for delivering very compelling content like this. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to check it out for myself at some point.
Find out more at cgostudios.com.