Google Street View Takes Us To New Heights On Everest, Kilimanjaro And More

Google Street View now takes to some of the tallest mountains on the planetWe’re big fans of Google Street View here at Gadling and over the past few months we’ve enjoyed the addition of the Grand Canyon, Great Barrier Reef and the Amazon River, amongst other destinations. Through the use of modern technology, Google has given us the opportunity to explore some very exciting places without ever having to leave the comfort of our own homes. Now, with its latest addition to the Street View Collection, the Internet search giant is taking us to new heights as they take their high-tech cameras to the slopes of some of the tallest mountains on the planet.

The latest Street View gallery is entitled “The World’s Highest Peaks” and it includes views on and around four of the Seven Summits, which consist of the tallest peaks on each of the seven continents. Those locations include Everest Base Camp in Nepal, as well as the summits of Kilimanjaro (19,340 feet) in Tanzania, Elbrus (18,510 feet) in Russia and Aconcagua (22,841 feet) in Argentina. The gallery also spotlights various other sections of each of those mountains, including some of the more well known mountaineering camps or other landmarks, such as the famous Lava Tour on Kilimanjaro.

Not all of the images in the new gallery are captured from such lofty heights, however. For instance, the Himalayan village of Namche Bazaar is given the Street View treatment, allowing us to take a virtual stroll along its narrow walkways. The Google cameras were even allowed inside the colorful Buddhist monastery in Tengboche, a popular attraction for those trekking to Everest.

If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to climb these peaks but the thought of the thin air makes you light headed, then this new gallery is just for you. Enjoy the heights of these iconic mountains without ever stepping foot on any of them.

[Photo Credit: Google]

Want To Mountain Bike Down Kilimanjaro?

Mountain bike down Kilimanjaro in 2013At 19,340 feet in height, Mt. Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in all of Africa. Over the years, it has become one of the top adventure travel destinations in the world, drawing in thousands of hikers on an annual basis. But next year, for the first time ever, a small group of travelers will actually get the unique opportunity to bike down the mountain thanks to a new itinerary offered by Trek Travel.

Having secured the first ever permit to mountain bike Kilimanjaro, Trek Travel will launch its inaugural WorldServe Kilimanjaro Bike Tour on February 22 of next year. The 12-day trip will include a hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti to witness the Great Migration, a visit to a traditional Maasai village and, of course, a climb to the top of Kilimanjaro followed by a mountain bike descent.

The trip is limited to just 20 travelers, each of whom will be shipped a brand new mountain bike courtesy of Trek. That bike will come in handy while training prior to their departure for Tanzania and they’ll also use it on their ride down the slopes of Kili. On their return home after the trip, the bike is theirs to keep.

While this sounds like an amazing excursion, the trip isn’t being conducted simply for the adventure itself. Trek Travel’s goal is to raise funds for several projects designed to bring fresh drinking water to as many as 150,000 Tanzanians. With that expressed goal in mind, the prices for the trip range from $25,000 up to $85,000, with 90% of the funds going directly to one or more projects specifically focused on generating clean water. Those are steep price tags, of course, but this is a cause that an industrious traveler might be able to use to raise funds of their own.

For more information on the Kilimanjaro Bike Tour, check out the video below and visit the Trek Travel website.


KiliClimb Trek Bike Video from WorldServe International on Vimeo.

Barefoot Kilimanjaro trekkers complete climb

Barefoot on the summit of KilimanjaroLast week we told you about a group of climbers from South Africa who were attempting to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest peak in Africa, without wearing shoes. Over the weekend, these barefoot adventurers completed their climb, but not without overcoming plenty of challenges along the way.

The team, which calls itself the Barefoot Impi, made their final push to the top of the 19,340-foot Kilimanjaro early Saturday morning. Setting out from the Kibo Huts, they trekked for more than four hours before reaching Gilman’s Point, one of the more famous landmarks on the way to the summit. At that point, they had walked barefoot for hours in below-freezing temperatures while dealing with steep slopes littered with loose volcanic scree. The next stage of the hike wouldn’t be any easier however, as two feet of fresh snow had hit the top of the mountain a few days ealier, and they had to make the rest of the climb in icy-powder – sans shoes.

Eventually they did make it to the top, and all five members of the team who had set out on this barefoot quest managed to complete the trek without any kind of natural or artificial protection on their feet. That’s a fairly remarkable accomplishment considering the temperatures and surface conditions they had to endure to get there. You can read all about their final day on the mountain in a blog post here.

As we mentioned in our original story, this charity climb was undertaken to raise funds for the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town, which is one of the first of its kind on the entire continent. No word on whether or not the Barefoot Impi team reached their fund raising goals, but clearly they were successful on their venture to scale the mountain.

My feet hurt just thinking about it.

[Photo courtesy BarefootImpi.org]

Dog found at summit of Kilimanjaro

Climbers found a dog at the summit of KilimanjaroFour climbers on Tanzania‘s Mt. Kilimanjaro had a surprise waiting for them when they arrived at the summit of Africa‘s tallest mountain last week. After making the long, and sometimes arduous, trek to the top, they were surprised to find a dog had arrived before them.

Antoine le Galloudec, Kristina Meese, Irina Manoliv and Monique Indino were climbing with a local tour company, when they approached the top of the mountain, known as Uhuru Peak. Galloudec said that he needed to heed the call of nature and stepped off to the side of the trail to take care of business. He was shocked to find the dog lying on a rock no more than a meter away.

The group was careful not to disturb the adventurous pooch, choosing to instead snap a couple of photos using a cell phone. When they later showed those photos to one of their guides, he told them that the same dog had been spotted at one of Kili’s lower camps ten years ago. Why the dog is still on the mountain, and how it has survived so long, remains a mystery.

High winds and cold temperatures are a common occurrence on Kilimanjaro, although it is the thin air that is usually the most difficult condition for people, and animals, to adapt to. If this really is the same dog that was spotted on the mountain a decade ago, he has probably become quite acclimated to life at altitude. Finding food is most likely a bigger challenge, although while I was there a few years back, there were plenty of small rodents, even high up, and I’m guessing the dog could find scraps left behind at some of the camps as well.

Climbing Kilimanjaro is one of the top treks in the world, and while there are no technical requirements for completing the climb, it is physical demanding to say the least. The hike to the summit generally takes about 5-6 days, and the view of the surrounding landscape is spectacular, however. I’d recommend the climb to anyone looking for a challenging adventure, but be sure to cap the experience with a Serengeti safari afterwards.

Flying Kites Adventure Challenges: Give back on your next trip

Flying Kites Adventure Challenges offer great travel and the chance to give backTravelers looking to add a new dimension to their next journey may want to check out the Flying Kites Adventure Challenges, which are a series of great adventure travel opportunities that allow you to visit some fantastic destinations, while raising funds for charity at the same time.

Organized by Flying Kites, a non-profit that is dedicated to improving the standards for childcare in some of the poorest nations in the world, the adventure challenges are an intriguing prospect to say the least. The process starts with travelers selecting their adventure of choice from a list of five options. From there, they pledge to raise a certain amount of funds for Flying Kites, and once they reach that goal, the entire trip is payed for including airfare, guides, accommodations, and so on.

The list of challenges include climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa and trekking to Everest Base Camp in Nepal, both of which require a $6000 fundraising goal. There are also two options for surfing in Nicaragua with an 8-day itinerary costing $2300 and a 10-day version requiring a $2500 commitment. Photographers and wildlife enthusiasts will no doubt be intrigued by the Kenya Film Expedition, which comes with a fundraising target of $7500, while runners and endurance athletes will want to compete in the North Face Endurance Challenge this May.

The fundraising goals are certainly reasonable, and attainable, for anyone who sets their mind to it. Most of those trips can obviously be done for less money on your own, but in this case, you not only get a fantastic travel experience, but also the added benefit of giving a little something back in the process. Great adventure travel combined with the chance to improve the lives of children in the places we visit? Sign me up!


Flying Kites – Adventure Challenges – Kilimanjaro/Nicaragua from Flying Kites on Vimeo.