The unforgiving slopes of Mt Everest represent the ultimate challenge for groups of climbers around the world. Each year on average 5 people die on the mountain, or one out of every 20 people who attempted the summit. This year was the most deadly yet, with 17 people dying in a single day in April when an avalanche covered their group. This tragedy has led to many questions being asked about the commercialisation of Everest, and whether so many people should be allowed to attempt to climb it each year.
In an effort to show the allure of the highest mountain in the world, and also the danger that it poses to climbers, US TV channel Discovery, has created an interactive 3D map, which shows the arduous route which climbers must take in order to reach the summit. Accompany the journey, are the sounds of the high mountain weather as well as the haunting radio traffic of lost climbers.
Climbers start from base camp, on the Nepalese side of the border before crossing rocky moraines and glacial crevasses to reach the Khumbu Icefall. This frozen landscape marks one of the most dangerous sections of the route, as climbers must navigate the seemingly random maze of cracked columns of ice, all the while watching out for deadly avalanches.
From there a climber must follow the path of the Everest Glacier over the course of several days before reaching the valley’s end. Here the final climb begins. Climbers call this 8000m+ region the “death zone” due to the low level of oxygen in the air, and the ease at which this can kill inexperienced mountaineers.
After ascending the final cliffs of the Hillary Step, you reach the final summit at a lofty 8848m. Users of the 3D simulation are treated to a full 360 degree panorama of the view from the top, a sight which is truly something to behold. Check it out here!
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