rakkup app brings climbing guidebooks into the digital age

Innovative smartphone app melds print guidebook accuracy with turn-by-turn GPS navigation to accurately locate climbing routes.

SEATTLE, Wash. – The crux of a lot of rock climbs may not necessarily be the technical crux. It may be getting yourself to the base of the intended route in the first place.

To address that problem, as well as provide an easy-to-use, accurate rock-climbing guidebook solution for the digital age, the climbing guidebook app rakkup is being released this week, coinciding with the annual Red Rock Rendezvous climbing festival. The Red Rocks Climbs guidebook will be the first guidebook available in the free app, made possible through a partnership with the print guidebook publisher SuperTopo. Other guidebooks for additional climbing areas will follow.

Rakkup, created by Outdoor Geeks LLC and sponsored by the apparel and gear manufacturer Outdoor Research, was developed by two climbers with a combined quarter century in software development, and improves on the digital guidebook format in a number of ways:

  • Rakkup uses turn-by-turn GPS navigation, using the GPS capabilities of smartphones combined with digital mapping of the trail systems at climbing areas, to offer users real-time information on the best route to their selected climb. Moreover, once users get close to an intended climbing route, rakkup offers its unique ‘BelayView’ photograph of the climb, so climbers can precisely locate the start of the proper route. The app downloads guidebooks, photos, and trail maps so that climbers can navigate and view the guide even when out of cell phone range.
  • Rather than simply translating a print guidebook into a digital version for on-screen display, rakkup’s developers worked to develop a mobile app format that allows users to browse climbs via an interactive trail map or convenient lists based on different criteria, and interact with the guidebook in with an intuitive touch-based interface so that it’s easy to access detailed information incredibly quickly. It’s truly a guidebook for the smartphone era.
  • The rakkup app is free, and consumers will be able to purchase guidebooks for different climbing areas, based on the print guidebooks created for those places, The digital guidebooks – which will include topo drawings, route strategy, history, climbing beta and rack beta – will typically cost less than their print counterparts, because of the reduction in cost associated with digital distribution. For instance, the Red Rocks Climbs print guidebook sells for $24.99, but is initially available in digital rakkup format for $9.99 for a 12-month license. Both rakkup and SuperTopo have agreed to donate proceeds from all sales of the digital guidebook during the Red Rock Rendezvous to the Access Fund.

"We've been waiting for years to find the right partners for getting SuperTopos on smart phones,” said Chris McNamara, SuperTopo founder and owner. “When we saw rakkup, it blew us away. The turn-by-turn navigation on approaches alone is a game changer. The fact the app also is packed with beta, climb selection tools, photos and topos makes this by far the ultimate climbing app." 

Rakkup was developed by Rob Price and Todd Kutzke, both climbers and former Microsoft employees with a collective 25 years of experience in software development. Price also used 10 years of experience in developing GPS navigation tools for aviation situations to help create the navigation capabilities in rakkup.

“The goal here was to create a marketplace for professionally produced climbing guidebooks in a digital format, so that climbers can access this content in an easy-to-use format and at a fraction of the cost of a printed guidebook, while guidebook authors and publishers can see return on their intellectual property,” Price said. “Beyond that, we wanted to improve on the guidebook experience, given today’s capabilities of smartphones. We feel like our GPS-based navigation, along with the BelayView, will help cut down on confusion associated with finding your way to a route you want to climb and put the adventure where it’s supposed to be.”

Rakkup and Outdoor Research will support the release of the app at the Red Rocks Rendezvous by holding a scavenger hunt that attendees can complete by using the navigation tools that rakkup offers. People can tackle the scavenger hunt any time during the Rendezvous by stopping by the Outdoor Research booth for instructions. The fastest time will win a climbing-focused apparel and accessory kit from OR. Attendees at Red Rocks who are interested in more information on rakkup can also stop by the Outdoor Research booth.

The rakkup app is currently available via Apple’s App Store.

For more information on rakkup, visit rakkup.com.

About Outdoor Geeks, LLC
Outdoor Geeks brings technology to your outdoor recreation experience to help you maximize fun and minimize epics. Inspired by long days at Red Rocks, Nevada, and in Yosemite Valley, which were made longer by the lack of better information resources, its founders decided to apply their extensive knowledge of software and navigation technologies to the climbing world. Our mission with rakkup is to grow and sustain the marketplace for professionally produced climbing guides by providing tools to the experts who’ve dedicated thousands of hours to assembling the finest information climbers could want. With rakkup, we open a door for authors and publishers to easily produce, market, sell, and distribute professionally-produced guidebooks and compete in a digital world based the quality of their climbing knowledge, without having to become programmers or undertake costly software development. Founded in 2011, Outdoor Geeks is based in Seattle, Wash.

About Outdoor Research
Outdoor Research® is Designed by Adventure®. We provide Innovation and Inspiration for the Relentless Adventurer. Based in Seattle – with in-house manufacturing and prototyping capabilities at our company headquarters – Outdoor Research was founded in 1981 after a failed piece of gear on an Alaskan climbing expedition inspired ideas for a better design. Ever since that first product, the X-Gaiter, put Outdoor Research on the map, we have been dedicated to building better outdoor apparel, gloves, hats and an array of other outdoor accessories informed by real-world testing. We develop innovative, functional, bomb-proof products that are beautifu
l in their simplicity. Design abides by the maxim ‘make it better, not just new or different,’ and our gear is backed by our Infinite Guarantee®. We listen, value and empower each other and our fellow adventurers – we invite input from our customers, athlete ambassadors and the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations Test Team. We’re independent, letting us strive to provide the best value to our customers, not shareholders. We are committed to our core sports: alpinism, rock and ice climbing, hiking, backpacking, paddling, trail running, and backcountry and sidecountry skiing. We’re growing, as a company and as individuals. And we’re having fun along the way.


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