In June 2015, Google launched the first of its vertical Street View collection, which allowed viewers to vicariously climb Yosemite’s El Capitan, one of the world’s most famous rock walls. In previous years, Google Maps had given viewers glimpses into what Mount Kilimanjaro and Everest’s Base Camp were like, but those didn’t come close to matching the immersive, interactive multimedia experience that vertical Street View provided. Yesterday the latest location in its vertical Street View collection opened for exploration: Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Western Europe (15,777 feet), which rests on the border between France and Italy. And it’s a lot more detailed than its Yosemite predecessor.
In yesterday’s blog post, Google announced that they had partnered with some of the best alpine photographers, skiers and climbers in the world to collect the photos, and the adventure, for Mont Blanc’s Street View. Among these experts are alpine climber Ueli Steck, 14-time ski mountaineering champion Laetitia Roux, 40-year veteran guide Patrick Gabarrou and ski mountaineer Kilian Jornet, to name a few.
The vertical Street View allows viewers to explore Mont Blanc in four distinct areas: they can climb the Goûter route, explore the massif’s glacier, scale several faces with Steck and Catherine Destivelle, or even train in the valley (sans snow) with top athletes like French skier Candide Thovex. In each area, viewers have access to spectacular 360-degree imagery, fun history lessons, and detailed videos taken along the journey. True, this new vertical Street View can’t replicate the windchill coming off the glacier, or what breathing in high-altitude air feels like. But, it’ll probably get your feet itching to plan your next adventure.