Together or Alone in Virtual Reality?

During the monsoon season of 1980, the legendary mountaineer Reinhold Messner did the impossible. He climbed Mount Everest alone, unaided and without bottled oxygen. An astonishing accomplishment.

An icelandic company called Sólfar has now recreated Mount Everest in virtual reality (VR). It lets you traverse and climb the Khumbu Icefall, one of most famous parts of Everest. You get to try what Reinhold Messner experienced on his legendary climb.

I tried Sólfar’s EVEREST VR experience. It was simply spectacular..

Wearing HTC Vive VR-glasses, I experienced Everest in stunning and majestic glory. The level of detail was unbelievabe. I could walk around and explore the mountain. It felt very much like actually being there, on the mountainside. It was an awe-inspiring experience.

Think of the time when you stood at the top of a mountain or watched giant waves crashing on a beach during a sunset. Sólfar’s EVEREST VR engages your emotions in a similar way. You feel the majesty of nature.

And yet. Something was still missing..

I think you know the feeling. You experience something truly amazing and you wish that someone important was there with you, to share the experience.

What if VR could recreate the experience of climbing Mount Everest as a member of a climbing team? What if the climbing team could be made up of our closest friends or family members?

It’s easy to imagine the intensity of the experience and the memories the VR team effort would create. The emotional connection would be lasting.

It seems that an interesting relationship exists in VR: the more awe-inspiring the VR experience is, the more it will benefit from being a shared “multi-player” experience.

I don’t want to be alone anymore, not even in virtual reality. Even Reinhold Messner, the legendary solo-climber would probably agree.

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