• Nick Bentley

Top 5 Climbing Apps

There's thousands of apps out there and at the Peak Climbing School HQ we've been rigorously testing as many as we had phone storage to download. We wanted to find out which apps improve your days climbing, what detract from it, and what's just plain useless. Here are the top five our teams come up with, download them and have a play.

1) Rockfax

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For us, nothing beats the feeling of a paper book and being able to sit in the pub physically ticking off the days routes. I also find them easier to use and flick through when looking at a crag. However this app is a handy and really functional planning resource as well as a useful backup if you forget your guidebook. It's a cheap way of getting access to all RockFax publications and if you have a UKC logbook, it links to your account to log your climbs.

You can browse a map to see where all the crags are by location or you can filter a search by type of climbing, grade or how highly it's rated. You can also set up a wish list of the climbs you've got your eyes on as well as keep a logbook of ones you've done.

When you've found the crag you want to explore the guide has everything you need to know. Starting with some epic images and a chart with the amount of climbs at different grades. It tells you how long the approach in takes, when the crag gets sun and how green the routes are. There's excellent detailed info such as history of the crag, where the parking and approaches are and what they're like, which are also accompanied by a map. Then, there's the fully illustrated topos, which is an actual photo of the rock with lines showing you where the climb is with a little description and grade. Rockfax use some helpful symbols to tell you a bit about the climb, for example if it is it a little pumpy or if there a lot of jamming.

2) RAD

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The Regional Access Database is a free app produced by the British Mountaineering council. Unfortunately not all land owners are as psyched about climbing as we are. There can sometimes be concerns around anti social behaviour, liability issues and environmental damage. The BMC have an excellent reputation for trying to build bridges with land owners, often with great success. On occasion, when they haven't been able to find a solution, they have been known to buy a crag or two so we can maintain access. Access over the years has been improving and it is important we support the BMCs plans. Historically, when we follow the agreements, access tends to improve. We have also lost access to some crags where agreements have been ignored. Access can also be temporarily restricted for the protection of nesting birds or for safety, such as crags used as military testing sites or sites owned by gun clubs on shoot days.

But, in order to be on board and help, you need to know about it right? That's where the RAD (rad name right?) comes in.

You can use the map to find crags close to you or you can search for a specific one. The BMC keeps the app up to date so if they need to restrict access or move parking it's easy for us to follow these requests. This is a frequently updated resource that makes sure as climbers we are protecting our interests in the outdoors.

3) GearLog

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As climbers we tend to be a pretty relaxed group. Generally, logging gear can be a bit of a chore and we'd rather be climbing than writing about our kit. However, we trust our lives with most of this stuff and a lot of it has a shelf life and should be inspected fairly frequently to make sure its safe. Gone are the days where you have to write about it on scraps of paper or in the manuals that came with the kit, two top ways to lose your logs. This amazing tool makes it super easy to keep track of your gear. You just select the kit, when you bought it, when you want to inspect it and it's lifespan. It can be set to send you reminders for inspection. You can also mark kit as quarantined for repair or as loaned out so you don't forget who's got it. Now, I have no problem keeping track of what gear I own, what state it's in and when it needs replacing and more importantly keeping track doesn't eat into my climbing time.

4) OS Locate

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As climbers we have this nice cavalier style to navigation with our vague approach maps. It's fine for what we need, unless you want to venture to those more remote crags. But on the off chance of an emergency do you know how to guide someone to the bottom of the Sloth on the Upper Tier? Unless you are at the side of the road the odds are Mountain Rescue will be called.

For those that don't know how to get them, you call 999, ask for Police, then ask for Mountain Rescue. Mountain Rescue will work off a 6 figure Ordnance Survey grid reference and the other emergency services should be able to as well.

This is where OS Locate comes in, it couldn't be simpler. You just open the app and read out the two letter national grid followed by the 6 number grid reference, you don't even need an internet signal, so long as its already downloaded. It's an app that sits on my phone and I hope to never really need, the one time I have I was glad it was already there.

5) Lightroom

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Sadly it won't make you any better at taking photos but this excellent free app from Adobe will help transform the results. You can import photos into the app from your phone or take photos direct. I've found the auto feature loads better than the standard Iphone or Samsung ones I've used. If you want to delve deeper into photo editing its got loads of options and features that I'm far from qualified to explain. For now I stick with the auto or presets and just those two have transformed my photo library, it's my go to as I start to learn my way.

Bonus App

British Red Cross

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As climbers we tend to not to consider the possibility of failure let alone injury.

Should we have an accident or problem it's important we are well prepared.

I couldn't finish the list without this bonus app that in a pinch could be your new best friend. I've used various first aid apps over the years personally and professionally, there's loads of good ones out there, especially for anyone who doesn't know or hasn't done first aid for a long time.

You simply select type of first aid incident and the page will give you a video followed by step by step instructions of what actions to take.

It's also got a handy FAQ section because its rarely that straight forward.


Apple Store Play Store

Wix who host our website have their own app. You can use it to log in to your members account and see any upcoming events and courses we have, browse the shop and even better get quick and easy access to our blog. Download the app and send an email to info@peakclimbingschool.co.uk and well send you an invite code.

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