2bn pixel image of Mount Everest

Explore a huge photograph showing Everest in extreme detail. What looks like litter might in fact be base camp, and what you think is a speck of dust could be a climber. Click the green boxes to zoom to a panoramic photo.


Filmmaker and climate-change campaigner David Breashears spent this spring taking around 400 images of Everest and its near neighbours from a vantage point above base camp through a 300mm lens. Now he’s released them digitally stitched together to form one image.

The result is a stunning panoramic photograph of the Everest region – with a twist. You can zoom in on specific areas and see the roof of the world in extraordinary detail. From a distance small colourful dots mark the location of base camp. Zooming in, you can pick out each tent clearly – and a man bending down as he washes his face.

The high definition also allows viewers to examine the mountain’s icefall – and even pick out climbers descending between terrifying ice cliffs and crevasses. Think of it as an extreme, alpine version of Where’s Wally.

Everest itself is the highest summit in the picture (just to the left of centre), a black pyramid towering above its paler western shoulder. Zooming in, you can see in detail the peak’s famous yellow band – a section of interlayered marble, quartz and semi-schist. To the right of Everest, at the head of the western cwm, is Lhotse, the fourth-highest mountain in the world, that rises up from the south col. Right again is Nuptse, the third peak in the Everest horseshoe. Like the western shoulder of Everest, the rock here is granite.

Curling from between Everest and Nuptse is the Khumbu glacier, a chaotic river of ice flowing downhill splitting into crevasses and ice cliffs. The route up Everest climbs up the left-hand side of this, and several climbers are visible on the thin trail that snakes up this dangerous section. To the left of the Khumbu glacier’s lower section, the small colourful dots become the tents of base camp, giving an indication of just how popular climbing Everest is these days.


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