Mount Everest in 3.8 Billion Pixels

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Always dreamed of exploring Mount Everest, but uncertain about risking your life to do it? A new project by famed glacier photographer David Breashears will make it possible to see the mountain up close through an interactive image he’s launching in a few months.

“Using our online tools, it is possible to soar thousands of feet above a glacier and view it in its entirety, or zoom down to the ground and explore pebbles embedded in the ice,” the Glacier Works team wrote on its Facebook page. “Our high-resolution gigapixel photography enables viewers to experience the glaciers as never before: up-close and with extreme precision.”

The end project will be made of up of more than 400 individual photos, each taken with a 300mm lens, Breashears told NPR. When it’s done, you’ll be able to zoom in close enough to virtually enter a Tibetan monastery or the tent of a climber.

The idea goes beyond a pretty picture.

“I have myself climbed Everest five times, Breashears told NPR. “And when I’m breathless at 18,000 or 19,000 feet recording images, I have very little time to study them out and learn about it, and of course I can’t focus my eyes as closely as that lens can. So as I sit there and examine that image in all its beauty and glory, I find other things I’ve never noticed before, especially as they relate to how climate change has affected the mountain.”

The new project will compare today’s images of the mountain to photos taken decades ago, to show how the landscape has changed in the face of warming planet. The results will likely take your breath away.

Credit: David Breashears, GlacierWorks