Thursday, August 13, 2009

Super Topo - Rock Climbing Guide

This morning I was pleasantly surprised with an e-mail from Chris McNamara. Well it wasn't from him directly but from his company SuperTopo. SuperTopo is a company that makes climbing guide, the self proclaimed worlds best climbing guide. What is unique about these guides are they are available completely electronically. Meaning you purchase the book/guide on-line and you receive a PDF file of the book. This novel approach (to selling books not climbs) allows you to print only the pages you need for the climb you are doing. Included is a printed copy of the book that they will ship to you so it can be neatly displayed on your book shelf, in pristine condition, and only used as a reference while recounting harrowing epics, at your next dinner party. This feature was not available when I first started using their service.

This mornings e-mail was a notification that a new edition of a guide I purchased several years ago, was now available. No he did not ask if I wanted to buy it , nor did he offer me a discount rate for the new book. Instead there was a link, a user name, and a password, so that I could download the new copy FREE!!! He calls it the "always fresh" program. I call "I will always buy Supertopo guides"!

A climbing topo is in fact not a topo at all. Instead it is a hand drawn map of the wall which you are to climb. A legend tell what each symbol on the map means.

When I was in College we first started using ST's. In fact I think that my roommates used some of the first "beta test" version of the guides. More than just a route map, the books contain detailed approach directions, maps of the area, photos of the mountain/rock/wall, as well a local camping and travel information.

Still not sure ST is the guide for you. Well go on their website. Chances are they have a free topo for the next climb you want to do, and thus are able to test out the guide before you have to make a commitment to buy. Funny how for climbers the moves might be committing, but nothing else in life is.
Thanks again Chris for providing beta on so many of the fun climbs I have done, and look forward to many more!

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