Sunset panorama of Everest's Northeast Ridge from Camp VI at 27,300 feet. Visible are the First, Second, and Third Steps as well as the Summit Pyramid. © Jake Norton/MountainWorld Productions. All Rights Reserved.

Interactive Panorama of Everest’s Northeast Ridge!

Ever wonder what the famed Northeast Ridge of Mount Everest looks like close-up? Well, here’s your chance to see it up close and personal!

Back in 2004 while I was climbing with my friends Dave Hahn, Tashi Sherpa, and Danuru Sherpa, I took a sunset panorama of the Northeast Ridge from Camp VI (27,300 feet) using my Nikon D100 camera. Later, in Photoshop, I stitched the images together creating a very high resolution panorama running from the First Step to the summit of Everest.

While I have shown this image to many people, the web is a difficult arena in which to show high-resolution images…and do so safely, without fear that they will be stolen or borrowed for other websites.

Well, Microsoft’s free Zoom.It comes to the rescue. With it, I was able to create an interactive version of my panorama where you can zoom in and out, up and down the Northeast Ridge and see in full detail the terrain of this amazing climb.


  1. renee
    reneeJuly 12,07

    Jake – Wow! Absolutely awesome.

  2. phil summers
    phil summersJuly 16,07


    This panorama is very illustrative indeed. Thank-you for airing it.

    Notice the shallow gully past the 2nd step which was attempted by Wyn and Wager in ’33.
    Someone should try that again some time!.

    Also of interest to me is the multi metre tower between the 1st and 2nd steps.
    I’m very much of the view that M&I climbed directly up the 1st step frontally and then continued up ‘the wall’
    right on the ridge crest, rather than the modern right flank route below ‘the wall’.
    There is only one prominent
    tower situated on this ridge crest wall, so its good to be able to see it now from a new angle rather than other
    perspectives I’ve seen it from (such as from the mushroom rock, looking ‘down’ ).
    Its of note that from the apex of the 1st step to the base of the 2nd step is only 175m or so up a slope of <9 degrees in all, but that rock tower would have to circumvented by M&I en route to the mushroom rock and beyond to the 2nd step.

    I wonder how long it would take to overclimb and do you see any express difficulty in this section climbing up the ridge crest 'wall' to the mushroom rock?.
    I suspect it can be done with not too much trouble.
    This area particularly interests me, especially the
    climb mechanics of which I've done much work on figuring out.
    Thanks again for airing this panorama. Good show.

  3. Jake Norton
    Jake NortonJuly 17,07

    Hi Phil,
    Thanks for your comment, and glad you liked the panorama – kind of fun!

    On the ridge route from the 1st Step to the 2nd, can’t say for sure…but my guess is it would be pretty difficult and hairy given the massive cornices you’d be trodding on.

    If you look at this shot, it gives you a view of those cornices looking from Mushroom Rock to the 2nd Step and beyond:

    And, in this shot – taken just below Mushroom in 2003 – you can see the ridge behind the climbers. Given the cornices and the fact that the “sidewalks” are just below the crest, I best Mallory & Irvine would have stayed off the crest at this point, at least to Mushroom Rock:

    And, finally, this shot shows the terrain on the ridge below Mushroom Rock – hairy!

    But, who knows? I think the ridge climb is at the least something to think about, and it would be nice to check out Wager’s line in the gully!



  4. phil summers
    phil summersJuly 18,07

    Greetings Jake,

    Many thanks for those revealing photo’s- I take your point on this terrain.
    I’ve been studying quite a few photo’s of this section between the mushroom rock and the top of the 1st step vis a vis towers and gradient etc.
    I’m wondering in a ‘dry’ year just how easier it may be for M&I with less snow to
    obscure the terrain and thus give a clearer picture of the accessability on top of that ‘wall’.
    I suspect that big rock tower could be circumvented and the gradient is quite reasonable over that 175m from the top of the 1st step to the base of the 2nd step.
    8590m-8568m= 22m height gain
    subtended over 175m.
    Of course the intricacies of he terrain is the key.
    One wonders how IF M&I did climb frontally up onto the 1st step,could they down climb and revert to the modern route following below the ‘wall’ starting from the
    top of the right flank of the 1st step?.
    I suspect it could be done, time consuming certainly, but I suspect M&I would firstly proceed up following the ridge crest overclimb that big rock tower and then reach the mushroom rock and then proceed as normal.
    I’ve long thought of the mushroom rock as like a railway switching junction, all traks lead to it either on top of the ‘wall’ or the modern route below the ‘wall’ or ridge crest.
    I’d like to see video footage of that section on top of the wall, which I suspect M&I took and close ups of that big rock tower about mid way between the apex of the 1st step and the mushroom rock.
    Finally, yes I agree it would be interesting to see
    that shallow Wyn-Harris gully tried again. An emergency ‘back door’ to get
    off or up the plateau
    if the 2nd step is too crowded or tricky?.
    We’ll see…..

    Thank-you for your insights and images today, much food for thought.
    Good health,


Leave a Reply to phil summers Click here to cancel reply.