You can now climb El Capitan with Google Maps Street View

25 Jun 2015

In Google’s latest bid to take its Google Maps Street View to strange, new places, it has now recruited expert mountain climbers with camera equipment to scale the 3,000ft of Yosemite’s El Capitan.

With no expert climbers of its own to attempt Google’s first vertical Street View recording, the company recruited the help of expert climbers Lynn Hill, Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell.

Writing about their experiences, Caldwell said that the usual challenges faced by climbing a vertical cliff were made all the more difficult by attempting to carry and shoot film using a camera that is usually used for taking video in restaurants.

The group decided that they would create two sets of Street View experiences, the first being a collection of legendary Yosemite climbers and then members of Caldwell’s group – Hill and Honnold – in iconic spots up the sheer vertical face.

El Capitan climbing

One of the most difficult but impressive takes for the shoot was Honnold’s climb of ‘The Nose’ given that he holds the speed record for climbing it clocked in at two hours and 23 minutes, whereas most people take between three-and-five days.

Speaking of their experiences, Caldwell said: “These 360-degree panoramic images are the closest thing I’ve ever witnessed to actually being thousands of feet up a vertical rock face — better than any video or photo.”

El Capitan at night

Cliff face of El Capitan image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic