I was walking the floor of the trade show with a pair of VR goggles strapped to my belt and an idea. My previous year was spent bootstrapping a program together where I brought a first generation 360 camera to some of the most creative locations I could imagine. Among these, I filmed flying a drone in underground caves, winter alpine climbing, standing inches away from a speeding train, and some very creative experiments.
My idea was simple, I wanted to put someone else in my shoes. But not just anyone; disabled individuals, the elderly, the underprivileged… anyone who didn’t believe they could ever experience such things.
I wanted to give people the incredible experiences I lived.
The 2016 Outdoor Retailer Trade Show is where I met George Basch, the founder of the Himalayan Stove Project (HSP). My pitch was to travel to Nepal with my gear and film a 360/VR experience trekking to Base Camp. Upon learning this, my friend Adam Rapp of Clothing Arts arranged the meeting with George, and we planted the seed.
I first offered to produce some content if a trip to Nepal worked out for me, politely intending to cause as little inconvenience as possible. However, several months later when I discovered that the Sherpa, that I had already made a deposit with, did not speak English… I made a call to George asking for advice.
His email response was immediately “adopting me” and introducing me to Jai Rajhbandari and Pasang Temba Sherpa; HSP’s top men in Kathmandu and the Khumbu region. And with that, the Everest in Smoke 360/VR project was born.
—– Lukla Airport, May 1, 2017 —–
The premise of Everest in Smoke is to convey what Nepal is like from the perspective of someone who starts from knowing essentially nothing; a 101 crash course that translates why the Himalayan Stove Project is so meaningful. The following is a preview:
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