The Everest Summit Panorama Project 2014
The goal: A high-res 360° Panorama from Mt. Everest Summit
Climber & photographer: Tim Mosedale
Equipment, training & production: Thomas Worbs
Timeframe: February - June 2014
Click here for the original blog of Tim Modedale or follow Tim on Facebook or Twitter.
The Everest Summit Panorama Blog
February 2015 - The Panoramas
Nevertheless, Tim Mosedale did not return empty-handed. He brought a set of superb panorama footage from the acclimatization trek. Here they come.
All of them are shot with the legendary Sony A7R mirrorless full frame camera using the Zeiss/Sony Sonnar T* FE 35mm lens. Another important part of the setup was the Gobi Panoramic Head. This Panoramic Head manufactured by Bushman Panoramic is probably the most compact and lightweight head you can get on the marked (320 Gram only!). Bushman Panoramic sponsored this excellent piece of equipment for the project. Many thanks for it at this point!
Everest Base Camp (EBC)
Everest Base Camp is located at the foot of the Khumbu Glacier on its North side. From this camp camp (5.364m above sea level) all everest expeditions taking the South Col Route start. It is also a very popular trekking destination. Tim Mosedale wrote on his expedition website about taking this shot: "Everest Base Camp after some fresh snowfall and before everyone had got out of bed. Indeed, as I was setting up, the sun started rising over the shoulder and I had to work quickly to make sure that all the photos were taken under fairly similar light conditions. This was slightly complicated by the fact that it was also quite cold and I can't operate a lot of the buttons on the camera with big gloves. The whole shoot took around 25 minutes."
When you click on the picture on the left you can see the Gigapixel Full Sphere Panorama Tim Mosedale took from this place with all the little details like the tents, the prayer flags, the technical equipment brought up there and the vast Nuptse Face. You can zoom in to all these details using the mouse wheel and you will find everything razor sharp.
Kala Pattar
Kala Pattar (elevated 5.645m), I suppose, is the most climbed trekking summit in the Khumbu Valley. Not without any reason. It is relatively easy to access and it offers a breathtaking view to Mt. Everest and Nuptse plus many other famous 7000er. In addition you can overlook a big part of the huge lower Khumbu Galcier which is covered by boulder and perforated by dozends of lake wholes. When you turn to the North you have the steep South Wall of Pumo Ri directly in front of you.
Tim Mosedale has captured this one-of-a-kind lookout point by a Gigapixel Full Sphere Panorama. "I had reached the main summit of Kala Pattar (slightly higher and up to the left - there are lot of prayer flags there) and tried to set up there but the view just wasn't as rich. Partly this was because of the prayer flags and partly the angles just weren't quite as good. So I dropped down to the original Kala Pattar view point (this is where everyone used to stop until about a decade ago) and thankfully, because it has fallen out of favour as being a lower viewpoint, I had the place to myself.", Tim wrote about the shooting of this panorama on his expedition site.
In case you are interested in further information please visit This excellent site about the Himalayas is in German but the Google translation is not too bad.
Renjo La
The Renjo La is probably the most impressive panorama point to have a vista on Mt. Everest. This pass is located between the Gokyo Valley and the Bothe Khosi Valley in the West, high above the village of Gokyo. You have to climb up to 5.417m above sea level to know the true promise of the panorama there. In contrast to Gokyo Ri, Renjo La provides a view also to the summits of the Rolwaling Himal especially on the ascend respectively descend on the West side through an area dominated by rock boulders which has meanwhile been eased by sherpas' trail works.
"Another panorama where I had to work quickly ... but this time not because of the changing light but the fact that there were porters and trekkers arriving imminently. I don't have an issue with having people in the photos but in this instance the area was going to get very cramped very quickly and when folk start wandering around you lose all control of the shoot. ", so the comment of Tim Mosedale about this shooting. Click here to view this interactive and fully labeled panorama.
More information about Renjo La is on Günter Seyfferth's website in German and Google-trenslated here.
Gokyo Ri
This viewpoint you will find in almost all trekker's itenaties visiting the Khumbu Valley: Gokyo Ri. Gokyo Ri raises up to 5.357m of elevation above sea level in the Northwest of the Gokyo village. When you look around you will find four 8000er around, Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, and Cho Oyu and not less than eleven 7000er. The huge Ngozumpa Glacier, the three Gokyo Lakes and Gokyo Village is laying down to your feet on the East side. Certainly a big reward for the ascend of 600m from Gokyo Village.
Now, thanks Tim Mosedale, we have a Gigapixel full Sphere Panorama of Gokyo Ri here on Mountainpanoramas. Tim's comment on the production of this footage: "As we made the trip there were quite changeable conditions and it was difficult to know whether the light would be right, the cloud cover would be acceptable or indeed if the mountains would actually be in view. But on arrival we were blessed with a really great vista and the results speak for themselves."
You find further information about Gokyo Ri on the website in German and Google-trenslated here.
Kongma La Campground
The Kongma La is a pass between the Khumbu Valley and the Imja Valley. It's no a pass only, it's a great viewpoint too. On the Eastside of the pass several lakes are embedded in a moon-like landscape providing a sufficient plain area serving as campground. The Nuptse Walls, Lhotse and beautiful shaped Ama Dablam are the dominating mountains in the panorama. And do not forget to zoom to the moon when you look around in this interactive presentation; you will find surprising details.
Tim Mosedale wrote on his expedition website about the Kongma La Campground shot: "Like the Everest Base Camp panorama an early was required and I was blessed with clear skies, a big moon and some atmospheric clouds on Lhotse. This is my favourite camp site in The Khumbu and I have never had to share it with any other groups. A lot of folk do the pass as a day hike from Chukkung to Lobuche (best) or in the other direction which is a bit of a slog. We use this amazing camping area for a couple of nights as part of our acclimatisation schedule so that when we arrive at Everest Base Camp we have already slept higher & have also taken in an ascent of Pokalde - just over 5.800m."
Imja Tse (Island Peak)
Imja Tse, also called Island Peak is a classical, more alpine than trekking peak in the Khumbu Valley. With 6.189m (20.305 feet) it marks the most elevated peak we have documented here on Mountainpanoramas so far (March 2015). Climbing it requires good alpine skills regarding ice and glacier terrain as the ascend route leads through the steep ice flank of the summit glacier. Above 6.000 meters the narrow and exposed ridge has to be passed. Taking the stresses and strains to summit Imja Tse is rewarded by an grandiose panoramic view from this "Island" surrounded by the three galciers Imja Glacier in the South, Lhotse Glacier in the West, and Lhotse Shar Glacier in the East. In the North the Lhotse South Face is rising up more than 2.000 meters. In the East the 8.000er Makalu seems to be within your grasp. When looking Southwesterly the, as some people say, most beautiful mountain of the world, Ama Dablam, dominates the view. In the Northwest the second 8.000er of the vista, Cho Oyu, is part of the scenery. Just click here to have all that on your screen.
Tim Mosedale took this panorama on his Ama Dablam expedition 2014 which took place in late autumn of the year. On his expedition website he commented the Imja Tse summit panorama: "This is the summit of Island Peak as you have never seen it before. We were a small team (myself, 3 clients and 2 Climbing Sherpas) and there were only 2 others on the mountain that day. To get the summit shots without having any climbers in I pushed ahead on the summit slopes. I was rewarded with perfect conditions (albeit a little bit breezy on the summit) and enough time to take the 450 photos that make up this vista."
Ama Dablam Southwest Ridge
Not the best climbing season in 2014 for Tim Mosedale: no Everest, no Ama Dablam. Due to a very active serac summiting the "Matterhorn of the Himalayas" was too dangerous. The Ama Dablam summit panorama has to wait for autumn 2015. Anyway, Tim brought a stunning panoramic shot from the Ama Dablam Southwest Ridge back home. "Next up it's Ama Dablam. Sadly in the 2014 season there was a lot of objective danger from the right side of The Dablam (a Climbing Sherpa died from another team and his 3 clients were injured when a huge block of ice fell on them whist they were on their summit bid). I was obviously hoping to get a panorama from the summit but it wasn't to be. But that didn't stop me spotting a great opportunity whilst travelling between Base Camp and Advance Base Camp. This was a shot from 5.000m on a ridge in amongst an amazing mountain vista and needless to say I am very happy with this on - the results speak for themselves. Click and enjoy."
April 27, 2014 - The Tragedy
As you may have already heared, just on the day Tim Mosedale and team were approaching Everest Base Camp, a serac crashed down into the Khumbu Icefall and killed 16 sherpas. My sincere condulences to the families and friends of the fallen sherpas.
This awful tragedy was not enought. It turned even more ugly. If you are interested in more detail about the things that happened, please read Tim's blog and the articles of Alan Arnette. Tim and team are trekking out since yesterday due to these circumstances. Climbing the big hill is not possible any more from the South side for this season. Tim and team are well at least from a physiological point of view.
That's it for now from my side. Let's sort the things out together with Tim, then I'll come back hopefully with new projects. Thomas.
April 9, 2014 - First Preview of the World's Biggest Mountain Giants - Some Technical Problems
Here it comes, the first mini panorama from the Everest Crew. Tim Mosedale & team reached Renjo La, 5.417 m, 27°56'51" N, 86°39'31" E after a 1.000 Meter ascend having two complete sets of panarama equipment as an additional burden on his back. It payed off: no clouds on the sky. What a great view to the world's biggest mountain giants! You can see three 8.000s in one picture. As soon as I have the raw files of the shot, I'll publish the big, real panorama. Hopefully Tim meets somebody who can bring a memory stick with this footage to Europe before Tim returns in early June. Tim took the preview panorama with the Sony A7R in automatic panorama mode, the real shots are full size raws from the Sony using the Leki Stick / Bushman Gobi setup. You can see Tim shooting with this setup on the right side. Promising.
Since my last post Tim & clients reached Monjo, stayed the night there. Then they trekked on to Kyangjuma via Namche Bazar. The picture on the left shows a view to the village of Namche Bazar. On the next day the group continued the tour via the hidden staircase up to Mong La. The day after the Monestary of Thame has been the destination for the evening. After having a bit of rest days there Tim & Co climbed Renjo La heading for Gokyo. There they arrived safely right now.
This evening (Nepal time, 5:45 h earlier than in Munich), thanks to the mobile network in Gokyo, I had a long chat with Tim discussing his experience with the panoramic equipment so far and we had to solve some issues too. The Sony A7R needed long time to boot. The rear screen was flickering for quite a time until the camera came to normal operation. We are not sure if this is caused by low temperature (not too cold today on Renjo La), by low air pressure or by another reason. Good that Tim has the Canon EOS 5DMkIII for backup. But also with the Canon a little problem occurred. The battery in the camera seems to have discharged while the camera was switched off. Hopefully a problem of this battery only. Lets keep the fingers crossed that at least one set of equipment works properly on the big mountain. Beside that I instructed Tim to re-check and, if necessary, to re-adjust the settings of the panoramic heads in order to make 100% sure not to get footage shot with misplaced nodal point.
April 1, 2014 - Flight to Lukla - Straight forward to Monjo
The expedition arrived at Lukla Airport, also known as Tenzing-Hillary Airport. Going to Lukla by plane is quite a little adventure itself. There is some challenge for the pilots of the small Twin Otter or Dornier 228 aircrafts, operating the route from Kathmandu to Lukla, landing up there in Lukla. The runway of Lukla goes up steep and ends after only 460 Meters on a rockwall. Thanks to Andrées de Ruiter ( for providing us with the cockpit photo of the approach (left).
In order to be ahead of the crowds (most folk stop at Phak Ding - an hour before Monjo) Tim and crew went stright forward to the little village of Monjo meeting a lot of friends there.
March 27, 2014 - Arriving in Kathmandu (काठमाडौं)
Today Tim Mosedale safely arrived in Nepal's capital Kathmandu. He did some of the mandatory city trips with his clients like visiting the Boudhanath Stupa (you see it on the left) which is one of the holiest Buddhist sites there.
And he has a lot work to do, all the stuff with the local authorities and preparing the mountain, medical, and photographic equipment. In the picture below you see all the equipment to be prepared and packed.
What comes next? Flight to Lukla with a small Twin Otter or similar aircraft. Lukla is the gate to the Sagarmatha Zone that all trekkers and Everest South Route climbers pass. From here Tim will start the acclimatization turns with his clients.
March 17, 2014 - The very first Panorama by Tim Mosedale
Next morning there was no rain but all the little peaks around Keswick were in clouds. So we decided to go down to the Derwent Water, the lake close to Keswick. A few minutes walk away from the Elm Tree Lodge we found a scenic place on a little peninsula and Tim did his very first panoramas, the first one with the Canon EOS5DMIII fixed on the tripod, the second one with the Sony A7R on the Leki stick.
Tim did a perfect job. The material I got for stitching was absolutely flawless. Enjoy the result with the Canon setup here. For comparison I'll bring the Sony version a bit later (sorry, not enough time now).
After having stitched the Derwent Water panorama I am confident that Tim will do the Everest panorama in case weather and other circumstances will allow it. The photographic skills should not be an obstacle any more. Rarely had a panoramic trainee before who understood the things so quickly.
In the afternoon I started back for home. Having arrived in Munich I prepared some comprehensive shooting guides for Tim giving him the chance to repeat the learned.
For the time being my part is done. 10 days left before the expedition starts. All that remains is to wish Tim a safe and successful trip to the Big Mountain!
March 16, 2014 - Training sessions is Keswick
Early in the morning of March 16 I left home for Munich airport having all the gear with me. Flight to Manchester. Train to Panrith. I was very excited to meet Tim the first time personally. He picked me up at Penrith station and we drove to his home in Keswick located in the middle of the the beautiful Lake District.
Tim owns and operates, together with his wife, a B&B called the Elm Tree Lodge, a really cultivated place to stay for a holiday. When we arrived at this nicely-English-style-furnished residence, Tim treated me with an excellent cup of tea and on the next morning I could enjoy his legendary English Breakfast. Thanks Tim for your great hostpitality!
The B&B is one part of Tim's professional activities, mountain guiding the other one. Since last year Tim offers the Everest expedition in spring and the Ama Dablam expedition in November on a yearly regular base (for further information follow this link). Beside that Tim offers various rock climbing and other mountaineering courses at his home place. And Tim has quite an impressive mountaineering CV. He has summitted Everest already four times!
Back to our training session. We spent the whole afternoon in the dining room. I explained him all the equipment and much theory about panoramic photography to prepare the practice lessons planned for the next day. In the evening we had excellent Tappas (yes true, you can hav excellent Tappas in Keswick) and an original Bavarian Weißbier (yes, you can also have this in Keswick).
February/March 2014 - Find sponsors - Get the gear - Test
First of all a big thank you to the two companies Bushman Panoramic and Leki that support the Everest Panorama Project 2014 by sponsoring key equipment.
Bushman Panoramic has provided us a special version of the ultra-light and compact panoramic head Gobi. This nodal adapter has been modified to fit directly to mountaineering sticks with 1/4 threads without any rotator. I myself use the Kalahari head since last year and I very satisfied especially with the low weight in combination with easy handling and precision. The total weight of the Gobi is not more than 320g including click-stop rotator. Setting up this nodal adapter is easily possible even with thick gloves on the hands.
Leki sponsored three pairs of their lightweight foldable carbon sticks Micro Tour Stick Vario together with the photo adapter PT-Aergon. These sticks are awesome in terms of stability, weight (520g per pair) and folded size (39cm only).
The idea of this combination, Leki stick and Gobi nodal adapter, is simple: the stick serves as a monopod in order to have a manual rotator (rotating the whole stick) and to avoid camera shake, the nodal adapter is intended to avoid parallax errors.
Regarding camera the choice was simple. The best resolution per Gramm weight you can get with the brand new Sony A7R. So I ordered this nice piece of hardware. Together with the Zeiss Sonnar T* FE 35mm F2.8 ZA you get a 36.4MP camera at a weight of 773g (including battery) only. So the total weight of the panoramic gear is well below 2kg.
I made a two row test shot with this setup in the Allgäu Alps at Neuerköpfle (click here to view the panorama, and zoom in...) and the result was quite impressive regarding color, resulution, and details. Except an almost not noticable chromatic aberration I could not find any artifacts (raw files developed with the native Sony tools). Very promising, but to be honest, this kind of monopod setup requires practice and concentration while shooting. The camera has be be leveled manually for each shot. Sufficient overlap of the shots has to be ensured by the photographer while turning the stick around. When testing together with Tim it came out that shooting with this type of gear takes more time than using a tripod and a click-stop rotator. But with the tripod-configuration you land with the extra weight of the tripod (sticks required anyway for the climb). A trade-off between shooting convenience and weight.
As on the summit of Everest temperatures below -20°C are not unusual I cooled down the Sony A7R to a temperature around -20°C. Unfortunately this test failed. The camera simply refused to work.
Conclusion: The Sony A7R would be the perfect camera for mountaineers if there was not the cold problem.
I discussed all that with Tim and finally we decided to use, in addition to the Sony, a backup system consisting of my good old and quite heavy Canon EOS5DMKIII with the Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM lens, a camera that has, through my own climbs, a prooven track record standing the cold and other extreme weather conditions. I also provided my 750g-Gitzo-tripod together with a Bushman Kalahari nodal adapter to Tim in case the stick solution takes too much time for shooting. So everything should have a backup and the final decision what to use for the summit panorama is on Tim after having practiced in real conditions up in the Khumbu valley.
On the (bad) picture on the right you can see all the equipment I brought to Tim: the two cameras, Leki sticks, two Bushman nodal adapters, tripod, batteries and chargers, memory cards, camera bags, a Sunload solar charging system, and a lot of wormer packs to be put into the camera bags while on the way up.
Early February 2014 - The Everest Panorama Project by Tim Mosedale and Thomas Worbs was born
At the beginnig of February I rang up Tim again (you see his funny Facebook avatar on the right) and he was still enthused about the everest panorama idea. He told me some details about his Everest expedition planned for 2014 and we agreed on the spur of the moment that I will evaluate and provide the suitable photo gear, that I will instruct him in panoramic photography, that Tim will climb this big hill and shoot the footage (for sure the most difficult job, I take my hat off to that), and that I will do the stitch and publish the panorama here on Mountainpanoramas. The Everest Panorama Project 2014 was born.
The following days I was intensively thinking about the perfect equipment for the project.
Spring 2013 - How all begun
I was surfing around - as I do from time to time - looking for panorama shots of famous mountain places and my special attention was on Mt. Everest. Has somebody already taken a 360° panorama there? The only thing I found was a low resolution panorama, it was 360°, but the resolution was rather poor, not comparable to the resolution and quality you can find here on Mountainpanoramas.
After a time I came across the video you can see on the left hand side. And I recognized that Tim Mosedale, who took the short movie on Everest summit, is a highly experienced mountaieer who professionally organizes and personally guides expeditions to this thin-air place (click here to get to his expedition website containing also a lot of useful information for climbing). I was and I still am sure that Tim is one of the few people in the world that can successfully do it, shooting a high resolution full 360° panorama on the roof of the world. I instantly called him.
Tim was extremely positive torwards my crazy idea from the very first moment on. He wanted to do it right now. I wrote him a freehand pano shooting guide for his small camera as there was no time to prepare any special equipment. Tim was very successful regarding summitting Everest in 2013, he did it two times in that year. But for some reasons no panorama came out from this expedition.
The 2013 chance was gone but I could not get the idea of a high resolution Everest panorama out of my head.