This season, a National Geographic and Rolex supported climbing team led by Pete Athans, installed the worlds’ highest weather stations at the Balcony (8,430 meters) the South Col (7,945 meters), Camp 2 (6,464 meters) and at Base Camp (5,315 meters).
So while Everest teams gather customized weather forecasts from meteorologists like Michael Fagin or Marc De Kayser, the rest of us can simple click to see Live from the Balcony.
With temperature, wind speed, barometric pressure and humidity, it’s the first time we will be able to see in real time what is actually happening.
While scientists will be using it to learn more about the jet stream, climate change and how it is likely to effect the Himalayan eco-system, climbers can simply look and say, ‘too cold and too windy’ right now. And for the weather forecasters’ it will provide the real time data to refine and update their models based on the real-time information.
Webcams from the 7 Summits – from Kathmandu to Kili
Besides the weather data, there is nothing better than seeing a mountain live. The clouds, the climb, the route, all become real and plans can be made.
While the peak we would all like to see right now is Everest, sadly as close as we will get is Kathmandu. At least we can have a look here at what the weather will be like when you arrive and at the hills around the Valley Rim.
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.
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 Otters 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 while also welcoming input in the comments below 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 great camera looking up the mountain, and a number of different options in the Alps around Chamonix, I’ve included it.
Elbrus – it may may not be live updates, but there is a 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 it 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. When we climbed this season, 2019, the weather was so good we really didn’t need a cam – we could see the mountain all the way from Talkeetna to the summit.
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 your updates on Webcams and will update that here – this is a rapidly advancing area and a great way to really see and finalize plans for the heights.