Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world in the Himalayan range, is a must-climb summit for mountaineers across the globe, and the wider Everest region a destination revered by many adventure and nature lovers. With its tough terrain and high altitude, the trek to the region remains inaccessible if you are not a fit and fine adrenaline junkie.
But no more.
Google’s launch of a virtual tour of the Khumbu region, as it is also known, lets you walk the treacherous trail and takes you close to the stunning landscape surrounded by the world’s highest peaks.
Two of the people behind the project are Apa Sherpa, aka the 21-time Everest summiteer Super Sherpa, and Saurav Dhakal, a former journalist and social entrepreneur. The pair met during their 99-day trek to the Great Himalaya Trail, a 1,700 km hike along the foothills of the Himalayas spreading from Kanchenjunga in east to Hilsa in west.
Apa, who dreamt of being a doctor, scaled Everest as a porter for the first time and then climbed the peak 20 more times — not because he loved climbing. On his blog Growing up in the shadow of Everest, he says that did this to provide a better future for his children.
Though he could not become a doctor, he is hopeful that children of his hometown will become doctors in future. The Apa Sherpa Foundation funds a lower secondary school at his place. In March 2014, the foundation and Story Cycle, founded by Dhakal, partnered with Google Earth Outreach to support the locals in the Khumbu region to digitally represent their communities on Google Maps.
During a 10-day trek led by Apa, the team captured indoor and outdoor snapshots to create the Street View images.
Interested? Take the tour. The Everest region, feared for its tough terrain and harshness, is within reach now.
Read more: globalvoicesonline.org
Written by Sanjib Chaudhary