Rock Climbing with the Internet

24 Jan 2019

Landscape view of red rocks canyon. Center is a valley where hikers can traverse.

This photo was taken at the trailhead of First Creek Canyon at Red Rock. Despite having a guide book and the wealth of information available on Mountain Project, we mistakenly started climbing an unestablished route.

We were supposed to be on a 3 star climb, but as I climbed higher, the route began to deviate from expectations. Protection became uncomfortably sparse, and the rock became soft & fragile. Thankfully, we were able to climb out to safety, however, I will never forget the feeling of being run out on questionable protection placed in soft sandstone.

This experience made me realize that I take my access to well established, “starred” climbing routes for granted. We’ve been able to take much of the original adventure out of rock climbing by sharing tons of information on the internet. For example, on Mountain Project, I can see what hundreds of other people have said about potential routes I’m considering. I can see pictures, comments, and even reviews of climbing routes. Mountain Project can often contain enough pictures to make route-finding a non-issue. Using information available online, I’m able to carefully curate my climbing experience and minimize risks by being selective with the routes I climb. I can do my research and know EXACTLY what I’ll be climbing… most of the time.

climbing photography