Virtual Extreme Climbing — Street View in the Eiger North Face

Street View, that’s so yesterday. Next in line thanks to ever better technology and courageous people: mountain view a.k.a. #Project360, a 360° virtual ascent of Mount Eiger. Two Swiss climbers and a support team follow the original 1938 Heckmair route on the “Nordwand” (north face) of the famous mountain that since 1935 has claimed the lives of at least 64 climbers, earning it the German nickname “Mordwand.”

Click to launch the Project 360 site.

Produced by mountain sports specialist Mammut, a extendable boom and a cluster of six high-end GoPro cameras enables computer users to pan around the resulting digitally stitched images to get an unprecedented view of on of the world’s most classic and dangerous alpinist routes.

Watch with care, this virtual climb of dangerous Eiger North Face might lead to dizziness and acrophobia.
Watch with care, this virtual climb of dangerous Eiger North Face might lead to dizziness and acrophobia.

The ascent is divided into 13 sections, each providing unique interactive content. Play one of the 360° videos of the climbers working their way up through vertical rock and ice. Just watching it from afar gives a queasy feeling. Me, afraid of heights?! Boy here yes. Ascending the famous Eiger North Face, not bad for a couch potato…

The boom with six GoPros
The boom with six GoPros
In addition they had a drone shooting aerials from the face and a film team on the west ridge. The six cameras on the boom were each pointing in a different direction. When these images are put together on a computer, parts of each image are overlapping.

By arranging those overlaps with special 360° software you can make the camera arm disappear from the picture without losing the climber himself.

The camera with battery and backpack was only about 8 kilograms, according to Mammut pretty comfortable and less annoying than expected. Climbing even chimneys was quite easily possible. Just don’t try it for yourself. They had two of the strongest alpinists in the world to do the job, both with a lot of experience on the Eiger North Face.

The virtual climb certainly is a stunning new horizon of virtual exploration. Watch the making of #Project360…:

… and some of the spectacular videography: