When Google launched Street View via Google Maps back in 2007 -- and Google Earth as well -- just about everybody simultaneously went and did the very same thing at basically the same time: They looked up their house.
Now that Google has just released a spectacular Street View of El Capitan, one of the planet's great granite monoliths, a nearly vertical 3,000-foot wonder that stands starkly in the middle of Yosemite National Park, we do wonder if the hawks and owls and smaller crevice-living denizens who call El Capitan home are currently scrolling, scrolling, scrolling as they try to find where they live.
Perhaps not, but climbers of El Capitan, and those who wish to climb, and those who'll never climb it but wouldn't mind trying their hand at doing so, from the safety of their armchair, are playing around with the stunner of a Street View.
Google made the reveal on Wednesday, June 24.
And, true, El Capitan possesses many routes and ways up, but Street View focuses on The Nose and bits of Dawn Wall. Steep stuff. Is there a word steeper than "steep"? That's the word we want.
Dawn Wall, of course, was much in the news earlier in 2015, when climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson spent 19 days going up, up, up, sideways, up, down, sideways, and up a route called a "once unimaginable feat." Not only were many people inspired, but "free ascent" fully entered the everyday lexicon.
Using Street View on El Capitan, the aspiring (read: never done it) climber can see that ascending a mountain isn't just a story of upwards forward motion but sometimes inching side to side, swinging a leg, pausing, rethinking, then pushing on.
It's amazing to see from any angle, but the Street View user will have to determine, in his or her heart, whether looking up, down, or out at Yosemite Valley makes the soles of the feet tingle more. We'll vote for that valley view, for the moment, but every sight captured by the Google team and climbers is pretty epic.
An overused word, nowadays, but El Capitan can pretty much trademark the term by this point.
Check out climbers Lynn Hill, Tommy Caldwell, and Alex Honnold as they take part in this epic production: