Finding Climbing Walls with BaseMap

Sep 12, 2018 | BaseMap, Outdoor Activities

by BaseMap Staff

Why Climb?

People rock climb for their own reasons. Some do it to challenge themselves, others find it to be a cathartic or almost religious experience. In the beginning, I climbed for the adrenaline rush that came along with pushing myself past my fears but I soon realized that climbing also gave me a sense of peace. Everyday stresses melted away as I concentrated on route and did my best to keep myself off the deck.

Many popular crags have easy access with well-marked trails or even nearby parking. However, great routes lay beyond the parking lots and well-worn tourist trails. Many times, finding the climbing wall or area is the crux of the trip. If you’ve climbed long enough, you understand a fine day of climbing can easily turn into a frustrating day of “hiking” endlessly searching in vain for that one boulder where you head south and ultimately find the wall.

I cut my teeth climbing in the Wichita Mountains. Not many would consider Oklahoma a climbing destination, but the well-worn “Ta’s” offer top-notch granite with a good mix of crack and face climbs were first ascended by hardened Okies such as Duane Raleigh.

GPS Apps Are a Game Changer

On my bookshelf sits a worn, dog-eared copy of “Oklahoma Select: a Climber’s Guide,” by Tony Mayse – a world-class climber himself. The margins are dotted with handwritten notes I’ve added over the years. Some notes detail what gear is needed for a particular climb or anchor, but most of the notes are detailed instructions on how to find the climb or wall. As a newbie, I spent about as much time finding climbing walls as I did actually climbing them.

Though I will always treasure that note-filled book and the many others that line my bookshelves, I’m happy to say I’ve found a much more convenient, organized way to keep track of that kind of information. Using the BaseMap App on my desktop and phone has been a game changer. The offline mapping and tracking has all but eliminated the need to bring a guidebook to find the climbing wall. While researching before heading out, I can mark points of interest on my map, such as a turning point in a trail. I can even upload pictures of the wall to be placed on my map at the exact location of the climbing area. This helps me identify the correct area I am looking to find, especially when I am going to a new area.

BaseMap Makes a Great Rock Climbing App

Another climbing-friendly BaseMap feature is the ability to send my uploaded images of walls to my climbing friends and share custom location markers with them via text. Quick tip for sending photos: Mark them up on your smartphone using your phones built in photo editor with different colored lines, showing routes from top to bottom. With BaseMap, I can also share marker locations of easily missed trail turns or switchbacks or use BaseMap’s “Location Sharing” feature to show my climbing buddies where I am in real time if we’re meeting up. This saves a lot of time and takes “sharing beta” to new levels.

BaseMap also integrated Google Earth to give a better bird’s eye view of the surrounding terrain, which helps me navigate my way to a climb. Combining this ability along with highly-detailed Google Maps imagery and a variety of available topo maps has cut down on my stumbling and bumbling and given me more time on the wall.

Although I don’t go into the backcountry as much as I used to do, I do worry about replenishing my water supply. Water is incredibly heavy so being able to forego carrying a lot of water helps cut down on bulk and weight. BaseMap’s Nationwide Lakes and Nationwide Rivers and Streams layers show the exact locations to find water to restock my supply.

Although I don’t think I will ever completely stop buying guidebooks, BaseMap has simplified the process of finding a new climbing area and allows me to easily exchange invaluable information with others. Cutting out the failed trips and being unsure of where I am or where I am headed has given me much more time climbing and the peace that it brings to me.

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