Beta. Sometime that’s the hardest part of any outdoor adventure. Getting to the trailhead, the base of the climb, the start of the mountain bike ride, then knowing if you should go right or left at the first dog leg can mean the difference between a day of inspired adventure and un unwelcome epic. Guidebooks abound, but by the time a print guide hits the shelves at your local bookstore or outdoor store, it’s probably out of date. And its heavy and bulky, and often the photos are shot from far away in a different season, and seem to bear no resemblance to the wall or trail that you’re looking at.
That’s where Rakkup comes into play: digital guidebooks for rock climbers. Rakkup’s first climbing app/guidebook, a free guide to Red Rocks in Nevada, was released this month in partnership with Outdoor Research and print guidebook publisher SuperTopo, and coinciding with the annual Red Rock Rendezvous climbing festival.
Rakkup was developed by Rob Price and Todd Kutzke, climbers frustrated by not being able to find their desired routes, and former Microsoft employees with 25 years experience in software development between them, as well as ten years of experience developing GPS navigation tools for aviation.
What’s better about Rakkup guides? They use turn-by-turn GPS waypoints, combining the GPS capabilities of smartphones with digital trail system mapping to help climbers get to the base of their desired route. The free app lets you access ‘Belay View’ photographs of each climb, so you can accurately get to the start of the pitch you’re looking for. And even when there is no cell service, 3G, 4G or satellite reception, you can still get to the info you need. The app downloads guidebooks, photos, and trail maps so that climbers can navigate and view the guide even when out of range.
Rakkup lets climbers browse routes via an interactive trail map as well as criteria like grade and type of climb, all through the touch screen of your phone.
The app is free, and guidebooks to specific climbing areas are for sale at the apple store. Digital guidebooks include topo drawings, route strategy, history, climbing beta and rack beta for around $10 for a year access. Proceeds from sales of the Red Rocks digital guidebook during the Red Rock Rendezvous will be donated to the Access Fund.
Available now, $10 per guide, rakkup.com.