See What Climbers See on Yosemite’s El Capitan

In Google’s increasing quest to put the world at the touch of our lazy fat fingers, the masterminds at the tech giant have brought their street view technology to El Capitan in Yosemite.

Using their revolutionary technology that has blanketed the United State, Google’s Street View team has created a 3-dimensional virtual tour of one of the world’s most notorious rock climbs as part of its Google Treks platform. 

The entire climb – some 3,000 feet – takes two days, which means spending the night on a ledge at 1,200 feet. Experience all of this, including the difficult holds and the rope swing at 2,000 feet, with a view that nobody but the climbers ever get to see.

Google’s series of virtual treks have spanned the globe, most recently bringing viewers a virtual tour of the Khumbu Valley in Nepal, Gombe National Forest in Africa where Jane Goodall studied and the Galapagos Islands, among others.

Teaming up with Google on the first in a vertical environment on El Capitan were climbers Lynn Hill, Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell, all noteworthy in the climbing world. Hill was the first person to free-climb “the nose” at El Capitan in 1993. Honnold climbed it the fastest in five hours in 2012, not to mention by himself and mostly without a rope.

“It’s a pretty crazy experience but I feel like I know myself well enough to use gear when I need it, use my rope when I need and only free solo in parts that I feel comfortable,” Honnold said in a video accompanying the launch of the slideshow. 

Caldwell, for his part, conquered the “Dawn Wall” in 2015, a huge slab of blank stone to the right of the nose.

“When you look up at this giant wall of granite, it’s just gigantic like a sea of rock,” said Hill. “You have to have a lot of faith in your ability to figure things out on the fly.”

While Google Street Views takes you to this vertical environment at mind-numbing heights, it still might leave you far from understanding just how they suppress their fear and anxiety, or why for that matter they take on the wall in the first place.

“It’s just cool to flirt with the impossible,” offers Caldwell. “You’re way off the ground. The very tip s of your fingers, and tips of your toes are the only thing touching the wall. You have to believe.”

Photo credit: Google Street View