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Climb 'El Capitan' with Google's first vertical Street View

Steve Dent, @stevetdent
June 24, 2015
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Google has taken us to some high places before, but it just gave Street View users a climber's-eye-view of a sheer cliff for the first time. Amusingly, it chose to kick off the project at Yosemite's "El Capitan" rock face, which, if you'll recall, is the name of arch-rival Apple's latest OS X version. We doubt it was a 'dig,' however, since the vertical 3,000 foot formation is the most famous rock climbing site in the US. To get the images, Google partnered with with Lynn Hill (the first person to free-climb El Capitan's treacherous "Nose"), speed-climbing champ Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell, who recently conquered the brutal "Dawn Wall."

After figuring out how to wrangle the cameras up the hill, the group created several different Street View routes. The first one features multi-view images of all the climbers situated on famous spots on the the cliff face. Another shows the entire vertical route of the Nose, after Honnold "pretty much ran 3,000 feet up with photographer partner Brett Lowell." Other views were taken by Caldwell on the ultra-challenging "Dawn" wall when he was figuring out how to rig Google's camera equipment.

Finally, the group created the Yosemite Treks page, letting you work your way 3,000 feet up El Capitan's nose and see the sights along the way. There's also climbing information and tips about "hand jams" and other info from all the experts. I gave it a spin myself, and the spectacular, vertigo-inducing images are some of the best I've seen on Street View. To check it yourself, start here.

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