There is nothing better than seeing a mountain live. The clouds, the climb, the route, all become real and plans can be made.
As much as a Webcam creates the reality of, “oh that is what it really looks like,” there is also the confidence that whatever your weather report says, whatever comments have been made about the snow, you can now see them for yourself.
Webcam technology, largely driven by surveillance activities, has become far better and far cheaper. However, the challenges in the mountains – power, resolution, uploads, extreme temperatures and remote locations all add a host of problems to seeing what we really want to see.
As expected, on lower peaks and in more developed countries you will see more from a Webcam, and at some points during the climbing season there may be short term viewing options. Some of the 7 summits are devoid of real coverage and most common is a single Webcam, or perhaps two, with still frames uploaded at intervals.
Any peak with plane or helicopter access will normally have better coverage, as getting flights in and out in variable weather is much more financially driven. Turning the Ilyushin jet around over Antarctica or having a fleet of Cessnas return to Talkeetna is nothing the operators ever want to do.
Here are a few options for viewing the 7 summits – which I’ll be updating and welcome input on Webcams I’ve yet to locate.
These links are live now – but this is an area where technology, operators, weather and a high number of variables all play a part. So click as an Explorer would, not with the expectation of an HD live-stream.
Kosciusko – two options here, showing the track towards the top from the Thredbo chairlift and also the view from the base of Thredbo ski area.
Carstenz – I’m sure the Freeport Mine has the technology, but I’m not sure they are too eager to share. If you would just like to see the helicopter flight in and our recent climb of Carstenz, you can do that here.
Mont Blanc – ok, we know it isn’t highly credited as a 7 Summit, but as so many of us climb Mont Blanc as well, and there is a very nice camera looking up the mountain, and a number of different options in the mountains around Chamonix, I’ve included it.
Elbrus – it may may not be live updates, but there is a very good camera at the top of the Mir Gondola station looking up towards the summit of Elbrus for the southern side of the mountain. Not as high as we would like, but gives an idea of the overall weather.
Vinson – as one might expect from ALE, they have some of the latest and the best technology – you have a choice of 4 cameras, 2 at Union Glacier, one out close to the Weddell Sea to monitor incoming cloud, and another at Thiels Corner, halfway from Union Glacier to the South Pole.
Kilimanjaro – options from Moshi, Tanzania when it is working, and hourly screen shots closer to the mountain at the aptly named Kilicam. Our expedition report and a 360 summit view is here.
Denali – a number of the air taxi services in Talkeetna have webcams – but still 60 miles out from the mountain. The National Park Service has Webcams dotted around the park, but more scenic than useful for climbers.
There is also an FAA Webcam at Kahiltna Glacier, but links are troublesome, you can reach the page and then a map of Webcams here which may get you there.
Aconcagua – while the facilities at Plaza de Mulas expand, the webcam that once lived here seems to be out of operation currently – updates welcome if anything comes up during the climbing season.
Everest – with the high interest levels and cell service right to Base Camp and beyond, hopefully there will be something here in – season. The webcam at the Italian observatory just above Lobuche is currently out of service.
What we would really like to see is a webcam on the South Summit so we can see how many people are in line on the Hillary Step.
I welcome updates on Webcams and will update that here, this is a rapidly advancing area and a great way to really see and finalize our plans for the heights.