There are two types of climbers: Those who have gotten lost on the hike to a route or crag and those who never climb outdoors. The folks who dreamed up Rakkup, a mobile app designed to give turn-by-turn navigation to the base of climbing routes and crags, aim to change that.
Rakkup launched at Nevada’s Red Rock Rendezvous in early April with a mobile adaptation of SuperTopo’s Red Rocks Climbing guidebook, which highlights classic multipitch climbs and a handful of crags in the legendary expansive climbing area west of Las Vegas — which also has legendarily confusing approaches over desert terrain, often resulting in parties accidentally creating social trails on their way to climbs.
The app provides the same info found in the SuperTopo book — full-color beta photos, detailed topos, descriptions, and directions — and adds turn-by-turn directions in the same style as mapping smartphone apps give you driving directions to a destination. The guide, which is offline once downloaded to a phone, works even where there’s no cell service, using the phone’s GPS.
Rob Price and Todd Kutze, two Seattle-based climbers and former Microsoft employees who formed Outdoor Geeks LLC, had the idea for the app after more than a few times getting lost on the way to climbs in Red Rocks and Yosemite. The two personally walked all the approaches detailed in the Red Rocks guidebook over the span of a week in order to get the correct beta.
“We often joked during our days in the field that we were ‘getting lost now so you don’t have to later,’” Price says. Partnering with SuperTopo founder Chris McNamara, Price and Kutze created what they see to be the future of climbing guidebooks.
They will first go to complete Rakkup guides for other SuperTopo books, but they also want to connect with current guidebook authors, as well as any other local experts who can help with approach beta to create guides. Guidebooks are the ideal place to start, Price says, because the content is already there to build the app around.
“Our goal really is to make Rakkup the platform and the marketplace for all the world’s digital climbing guidebooks,” Price says. “We want to bring climbers everywhere the chance to purchase powerful, affordable digital climbing guides that are better than the print products we are all used to, and we want to enable authors (and would-be authors) everywhere to create, distribute, and sell those cool digital climbing guides, using their print content as a starting point where it exists already.”
A sample of Red Rocks beta is available for free, and the full Red Rocks guide can be downloaded for $19.99. Another guide to 600 climbs in Smith Rock is available for $4.99. The Rakkup app can be downloaded for free in the iTunes store.