*Other mountains may be available, please check with your VR provider We’ve all had times in our lives that for whatever reason we’ve been unable to get into the mountains. The coronavirus pandemic is a bit special in that we’re all having that time simultaneously, so here’s my addition to Things To Do In Lock Down. Like all mountain experiences we have good days and bad days, big mountains and little mountains, plans that go well and plans that just don’t.
Get a fully immersive VR set up installed in your home. Pack a rucksack and put on all of your best mountaineering clothing. Open all the windows and point several fans towards yourself on full. The aptly named Everest VR is probably the go-to viewing experience for this set up (I say probably, I didn’t want to part with £7 so I haven’t actually tried it). Alternatively you can soar over the summits with Google Earth for free (in 30 second increments because it’s real enough to give you horrible motion sickness)
For those of us who do not have a fully immersive VR set up or a fan. Get Google Cardboard. This is a piece of cardboard that can be folded into a virtual reality viewer for your smart phone (you do also need to have a smart phone and a free app). They cost about £5 but I’m sure you can find one for less. For a hands-free experience you will also need some string to attach it to your face. If you are really desperate you can attempt to make your own from some old cereal boxes and get stuck at the part that says “place lens here”. Open all the windows. Google Earth soaring also works in this set up though it’s a bit more jerky without the processing power of a proper computer. It’s still a 9/10 for motion sickness and if you want to keep your feet a bit more firmly planted the free Expeditions app has a Mount Everest trip which moves you nice a statically between fixed locations and tells you interesting facts as you go.
For those of us who cannot achieve the technological heights of Google Cardboard. Find a book with pictures of mountains. Place it on your face.