March 20, 2013, 10:59 AM — You can now explore the world from the comfort of your couch with Google Maps' new mountaintop Street Views.
On Monday, Google released images from four of the world's highest summits: Everest Base Camp in Nepal, Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Russia's Mount Elbrus, and Argentina's Aconcagua. The latest addition to Google Maps lets you scale those famous peaks without an extensive training regimen or an expensive plane ticket.
Google's team--not expert mountain climbers by any means--painstakingly documented each mountain's ascent using just a tripod and a digital camera with a fisheye lens. The documentarians detailed their expeditions in a behind-the-scenes blog, Google Lat Long.
GoogleThe view from a base camp at Plaza Argentina is one of the images now available through the Street View feature on Google Maps.
It makes for fascinating reading as you follow along in Google Maps and see the trails the Googlers climbed to snap the Street Views. The team spent 12 days getting to Everest alone, where not even mudslides or an earthquake could prevent them from capturing the journey for Google Maps.
When they finally reached Everest Base Camp at 18,192 feet above sea level, the team didn't even pause to take in the sights.
"I barely stopped to enjoy the moment before wanting to accomplish the next goal--photographing the Base Camp where a real summit expedition had actually set up camp," Sara Pelosi, Google's people programs manager, wrote on the Google Lat Long blog.
Some of the other sights they saw while documenting each mountain were huts made from Cold War-era fuel barrels on Mount Elbrus, base camp set-ups on Aconcagua's Plaza Argentina, and the snowy terrain on Kilimanjaro's highest point, Uhuru, which is 19,341 feet above sea level.
The expedition group curated a selection of their favorite photos from the treks, which you can view in the Street View Gallery, or you can explore using Google Maps on your desktop or smartphone.