Mt. Everest 3.8 Billion Pixel Interactive Image

MtEverest-GlacierWorks50This 3.8 gigapixel image of the Khumbu Glacier was captured and stitched by David Breashears in spring 2012, from a viewpoint near Mount Everest.

You can pan and zoom around this remarkable image, seeing the massive tent city of Base Camp, and awesome features of the Khumbu Icefall and surrounding mountains. You can also spy some climbers up on the near mountains if you’re lucky, and Tibetan prayer flags too. I enjoyed just zooming in and scrolling around randomly. I’m not exactly sure which mountain is Everest itself (back, center-left?).

The coolest thing though is that this is just a tiny part of the project that GlacierWorks is undertaking. On NPR, Brashears said this barely scratches the surface of where this tech project is headed.

“It’s hardly even a demo…. It’s missing 99 percent of its functionality, which is audio and video and the ability to access other curated content.”

When complete in a few months, this will serve as a completely interactive tour of Mount Everest. Overall this is part of an effort to track and exhibit how the Himalayan landscape has changed with glacial retreat.

John Krebs Wilderness, New Designation

The John Krebs Wilderness was created in April 2009 and it pushed the percentage of wilderness area within Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks from 83.6% to 93.4%. This happened a while back but I still wanted to post about it since I loved hearing it. The Wilderness encompasses 39,740 acres in the area of Sequoia National Park to the south of the Mineral King Road, and also has a narrow band surrounding the Mineral King Valley. This puts the Wilderness up to the Mineral King side of Sawtooth Pass, Timber Gap, Franklin Pass, and Farewell Gap. It also includes a large part of the East Fork of the Kaweah River. The Golden Trout Wilderness borders it to the southeast and the Sequoia National Park’s Wilderness borders it to the north and east so it connects a large area of wilderness. This area had already been administered as defacto wilderness so didn’t require a huge change but it is great to make it official.

John Krebs Wilderness Map

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Goofy Animated Hiking GIFs

Here are some goofy animated hiking gifs from our trips. The Pecos Wilderness trailhead shot was the one that started this, when we realized how funny it was when paging through the photos. Then the Great Smoky Mountains trailhead shot was the first intentional trailhead dance. The one from Ansel Adams Wilderness with Jason jumping is hilarious.

Ansel Adams Wilderness 2007-Hiking boulder jump animated GIF

More after the jump (lol sorry)

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Smoky Mountains Trip Photos up on Picasa

Trailhead shotI have photos from our 3 day backpacking trip in Great Smoky Mountains National Park up on Picasa! Dave, Tom, and I participated and the shots are from Dave and I. I narrowed it down to just 300 🙂 Eventually I will get the trip report with photos up on the Backpacking Trips area of this site, but I have to fill in a lot of past trips still.

Hetch Hetchy Restoration Support is Growing

The ballot in San Francisco for the November vote will include a measure to start restoration of the Hetch Hetchy Valley of Yosemite National Park by draining the reservoir filled behind the O’Shaughnessy dam. This is incredible to think about and I was surprised to even hear about it.

The drama that played out in the early 1900s between the thirsty and earthquake and fire ravaged San Francisco and the environmentalists led by John Muir and the young Sierra Club seemed to have a finality about it once it was decided and the valley filled. It was a great tragedy for our public lands and broke Muir’s heart. The Hetch Hetchy Valley was home to a large population of wildlife, forests, flowery meadows, waterfalls, and the Tuolumne River. Once the valley was filled by the reservoir, there was no going back, right? No doubt there is immense damage and the animals are obviously mostly gone, the trees wiped out, replaced with the countless gallons of barren water desert right up to the steep granite valley walls.

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Colorado Wildfires, Where To Not Hike/Backpack

The forest fires in Colorado and Utah are all over the news right now and could affect plans for people wanting to get out into the mountains and forests and do some hiking or backpacking. A friend living in CO posted on facebook that his state was on fire. I’ll try to shed some light on what conditions are like for those curious. In general I’d think most plans will be fine (these are large states) but there is possibility of haze in the air from the smoke even if your planned hiking area isn’t directly affected by the fires. My best advice is to inform yourself. Do research online. They are pretty good at updating info on this kind of thing now. And if you’re going out near one of these areas, you really need to call the ranger’s office and ask about conditions and any restrictions in effect like for campfires.

Google has a very nice updated mash-up map that pulls data from some of these sources and puts it in a zoomable Google Map that includes fire perimeter overlays and others you can add like webcams available and satellite imagery:

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