Climber Pete Takeda has surmounted a brittle ice face at 19,000
feet, but he says nothing can match the harrowing feeling of
seeing an avalanche thundering toward you. "It's like standing
in the face of a freight train," says Takeda, whose first
attempt to climb the Himalayan peak Meru in 1998 ended when an
avalanche buried his temporary camp. In May, Takeda and partner
Dave Sheldon again attempted the treacherous 21,600-foot peak,
nicknamed the Sharksfin, which has never been conquered and has
claimed at least two lives. Their quest is documented on
The site, operated by Texture/Media, presents the journey through
an interactive documentary, using some of the Web's latest
technologies. (Flash 5 and Real Player 8 or Quicktime 4 are
required.) The story is being told in seven installments, with a
new segment posted every two to three weeks beginning on May 31.
The viewer can go from the preparations and training climbs in
Bozeman, Mont., in Episode 1 to the team's arrival in New Delhi
in Episode 3 to the climb in Episode 6, which will be on the site
for the first time this week. In each installment, the viewer
chooses from a series of two- to three-minute videos, like the
test climb in Episode 4 in which Takeda and Sheldon dealt with
the effects of altitude sickness. A link to a map allows the
viewer to zoom in on selected sites, giving one the feeling of
parachuting into Nepal from high above the earth.
Three-hundred-sixty-degree photos offer stunning shots; an image
taken at the group's base camp can be "spun around" to impart a
sense of Meru's daunting presence.
Takeda has been participating in a daily chat reel since
returning, building suspense over the trip's outcome. We know
that Takeda and Sheldon survived their climb, but did they make
history? Says Takeda, "You can expect to see some of the more
dramatic climbing footage ever captured."