Rock climbing is changing constantly and so is mobile technology.
If you are a climber living in the 21st century, then you know mobile climbing apps are replacing hard copy guidebooks faster than traditional publishers can keep up.
Today climbers are using them to share the wealth of information gathered from decades of first ascents in quick and easy formats, digitally.
Climbing mobile apps are fast becoming an essential tool for finding crags, learning about specific climbs on-the-go, navigating in the backcountry, connecting with the climbing community, and training to become a better climber.
We can’t tell you exactly which apps to download for your climbing needs, but we’ve taken the time to compile a comprehensive list of the most popular on the market today to help narrow down your selection.
We also made recommendations about the best app across 5 categories.
Use this list as an example of the 4-5 types of app you might want to consider downloading to make your climbing life easier.
|Best Overall Climbing App||Mountain Project|
|Best App for Crag Info||Rakkup|
|Best Weather App||Climbing Weather|
|Best Navigation App||Gaia GPS|
|Best Training App||Boulder Trainer|
|Best App for Community||MyClimb|
The Best Climbing Apps
Category: Navigation / Crag Info / Community
Home Page: www.mountainproject.com
Main Purpose: to be a comprehensive database of climbing areas all over the world (a true digital guidebook)
The majority of climbers would agree that Mountain Project (MP) is one of the best climbing apps available today - in fact, it is world-renowned as the digital guidebook for climbing.
With an inventory of over 150,000 routes and a stellar website to complement the mobile app, Mountain Project is a tough app to beat.
The interface can be a little tricky to understand at first glance, but once you get the hang of it, MP becomes your very best friend at the crag.
You can use the route finder option to find exactly what you’re looking to climb and download crag info ahead of time for offline use.
Mountain Project also offers a user-friendly community platform where you can connect with climbers from all over the world and exchange crag beta easily and efficiently.
Just one thing to note - all of the data collected for the website and app is crowd-sourced, so take the descriptions with a grain of salt.
Always make sure to scout out the area on your own before you start climbing blindly relying solely on the Mountain Project app data.
Category: Navigation / Crag Info
Home Page: rakkup.com
- Free App
- Pay-per-guide (approx. £8.72 \ $10 per guide available at rakkup.com)
Main Purpose: to use GPS tracking to guide climbers to crags using turn-by-turn directions and photos to get you directly to the base of the route
The Rakkup climbing app is similar to Mountain Project with one important distinction: the app employs professional climbers and guidebook authors to write area descriptions rather than relying on the community to compile crag data.
On Rakkup, you can search for climbs by criteria like grade and type of climb using the clean and easy-to-navigate interface.
The app also includes detailed rack info so you’ll know exactly what you need to bring with you before you start your approach.
Detailed and accurate route summaries combined with individual pitch descriptions make multi-pitch rock climbing a breeze with the Rakkup app.
Precise descent information also prevents unexpected epics on the way down, which every climber hopes to avoid.
Rakkup features zoomable topo maps and an unparalleled GPS navigation system that will guide you to climbs that include fourth- or fifth-class scrambles. In short, the app guarantees you’ll find your way on even the most harrowing approaches.
Unfortunately, at this time Rakkup only includes 24,000 climbs, scattered across the globe. And although the app itself is free, the user must purchase separate digital guidebooks for each climbing area you want to explore on your phone.
You can choose to buy, rent, or sample any of the guidebooks available for download on the Rakkup website.
Home Page: www.climbingweather.com
Avaliable On: iOS
Main Purpose: to provide climbers with up-to-date weather forecasts for over 300 climbing destinations across the U.S.
If you’re wondering whether the weather bodes well for climbing this weekend, look no further than the Climbing Weather app, now easily downloadable on your cellular device!
What first started as a website filling a unique niche has grown into the most accessible and comprehensive climbing weather app to-date.
The Climbing Weather app is exactly what it sounds like: a weather app that uses data from the NWS National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD) to provide daily and hourly forecasts for your favourite climbing areas.
The app uses GPS coordinates to pinpoint specific crags rather than offering a general meteorological overview for the entire area, so you no longer have to wonder if the rain in town will affect the wall you’re hoping to climb.
You can plug in a zip code or search an area by name in the app’s super basic interface to check the weather ahead of time before travelling to a far-off crag.
The crag forecast lists all of the standard weather info like high/low temps, the chance of precipitation, wind, and humidity for the 20 crags closest to you, which allows the user to scout out the best send spot for any weather.
Unfortunately for non-U.S. climbers, this app is currently only available for about 300 crags in the continental U.S., but the developers are hoping to expand the app to include climbing areas all across the globe in coming years.
Home Page: www.gaiagps.com
- £17.47 / $19.99 for the App
- £17.47 / $19.99 for the Map Database
Main Purpose: to be a backcountry navigation tool to help outdoor adventurers get to and from their destination, no matter how remote
The Gaia GPS app is rapidly replacing handheld GPS units in the field.
The app’s superior functionality and usability make it a breeze to use even if you’re technologically impaired. Customizable settings and features within the app are specifically designed for backcountry travel, making this app an excellent choice for mountaineers and intrepid climbers alike.
The impeccably accurate GPS system allows you to set tracks as you walk so you know exactly where you went and how to return.
You can also record each trip’s distance and elevation changes, which helps climbers know exactly what sort of approach to expect when venturing out to backcountry crags.
You can also backup all of your data to an online server and the app doesn’t require a cellular connection to work; simply pre-download the maps you’ll need, then operate in airplane mode while you’re on the trail.
Although the app and corresponding map database is relatively expensive, the investment is well worth it if your trips to the crag involve any backcountry travel.
Home Page: www.boulder-trainer.com
Cost: £2.61 / $2.99
Main Purpose: to help amateur climbers use hangboard training to increase their finger strength and improve their overall rock climbing
As suggested by the name of the app, the Boulder Trainer will make you a bolder (and better) climber!
Whether you are new to using hangboarding as a training technique or you’re a veteran beast of the fingerboard, this app will come in handy for your training sessions.
Boulder Trainer comes pre-set with every brand of fingerboard imaginable (think Metolius, Beastmaker, Trango, Moon, etc.) and it also works with homemade setups.
Simply take a photo of your makeshift hangboard, number the pockets and holds, upload it to the app, and you’re good to go!
The app also offers a customizable training plan, making the use of it as a training tool extremely flexible and easy to incorporate into any pre-existing exercise routine.
You can’t go wrong with Boulder Trainer’s clean, inventive design and simple, easy-to-use stopwatch and training plans.
Your fingers will be stronger than iron in no time with the help of the Boulder Trainer App!
Category: Community / Training
Home Page: myclimb.com
Main Purpose: to be a social platform for the climbing community, built by the climbing community
MyClimb is intended to be a social media platform for the climbing community and the app has succeeded in becoming exactly that.
It is a great mobile app for social networking that allows climbers from all over the world to keep up with their friends and “heroes” (professional climbers who inspire you) as they climb problems and routes in faraway places.
With MyClimb, you can track your own climbing progress in both the indoor climbing gym and at outdoor crags and share your results with your peers through the interactive social network embedded in the app itself.
You can even add photos or videos and include the locations of each of the climbs you tick off your list!
MyClimb is a fantastic app that allows you to see your personal progression over a set amount of time and connect with your climbing community in order to stay up-to-date on the latest sends among your friends.
Check it out and integrate your app data with Facebook, Twitter and Google to really take your climbing to the next level!
Other Great Climbing Apps
Category: Navigation / Crag Info
Home Page: 27crags.com
- Free for basic version
- Premium version available for:
- £5.90 / $6.76 / month
- £4.90 / $5.62 / quarterly (every 3 months)
- £3.90 / $4.47 / year
Main Purpose: to help climbers find the most suitable climbing crags for them based on route descriptions and photographs
Despite its misleading name, the 27 Crags app includes over 100,000 routes and 150,000 boulder problems in 108 different countries.
27 Crags is designed to be the perfect portable topo guide for climbing areas all around the world.
Downloadable topos available in the premium version of the app allows you to explore climbing locations on-the-go and GPS support improves navigation to even the most obscure crags.
Unfortunately, the basic (free) version of the app doesn’t include downloadable topos, and even in the premium version, only 458 crag topos are available for download.
With this handy app, you can also track your ascents and create to-do lists for future climbs, making it a logbook as well as a guidebook.
27 Crags even have an Instagram-like platform where you can post your favourite climbing photos and share them with all your climber friends to show off your progress.
And if you’re travelling solo, the app also features a friend finder option that allows you to find a climbing partner in any region of the country you’re visiting.
Plus, all the proceeds earned from subscribers of the premium version of 27 Crags go directly towards the development of climbing areas.
Category: Crag Info
Home Page: www.climbingaway.com
- Free App
Main Purpose: to offer basic information about a wide variety of climbing areas across the globe
Climbing Away is a great app that can be used to plan the basics of an international climbing trip.
The layout design is simple with an easy-to-navigate interface, making your trip planning feel almost effortless with the help of the Climbing Away app.
The app itself is just informative enough to whet your pallet and encourage you to continue researching crags further on your own.
Each climbing area is listed on an interactive map with a few details about the area such as grade ranges, rock type, and approach difficulty.
The information includes thousands of climbing areas around the world but is general and broad on the Climbing Away app.
You’ll need to rely on other apps or hardcopy guidebooks in addition to Climbing Away to get more information about the specifics of the area you’re looking to climb in.
Fortunately, included within the app are links to additional helpful resources such as guidebooks for the area you’re researching.
Category: Crag Info
Home Page: www.sloperclimbing.com
- Free for basic (primarily focused on safety concerns)
- Subscription based model for specific crags
- Subscription based model for larger climbing areas
Main Purpose: to be a digital complement to the guidebook that incorporates real-time updated data from a vast network of climbers around the globe
Sloper is an up and coming climbing app that is making waves in climbing communities in the UK and Canada.
The app has yet to make a big splash in the U.S. or other popular climbing areas around the world, although a handful of climbing areas are included in both California and Australia.
The Sloper climbing app is primarily a platform for climbers to interact via the app and communicate about route development as it happens.
It can be compared to the Waze navigation app; real people from the community update route information in real time, making Sloper a cutting edge app with a premier focus on safety.
The app is very easy to use with a dark colour scheme and easily navigable panels to help you find your way through the interface.
The developers of Sloper have promised to expand the breadth of the app in coming years with respect to both location and crag information, so this is a great app to keep around for years to come.
Category: Crag Info / Navigation / Community
Home Page: www.vertical-life.info
- Free App
- Pay-per-guide £0.44 / $0.50 each
Main Purpose: to be a logbook and mobile guidebook for outdoor crags and indoor gyms
Vertical Life is like a combination of Mountain Project and MyClimb - a single app designed to be both a guidebook and a community platform/training tool for climbers looking to improve their skills in the sport.
The mobile app includes guidebooks for both indoor gyms and outdoor crags, but only if they’re located in Europe.
Guide topos (described in this app as “visual representations of routes on the wall” and not necessarily topos for the whole area) are available for all the crags listed in the app.
Colour photographs and detailed approach and route descriptions make it easy to find the climb you’re looking for without too much effort.
You can also use the app to log ascents and participate in challenges with friends, regardless of where they’re located.
The pleasing, user-friendly display and wealth of information about local climbs make this app a great addition to any European climber’s arsenal of mobile apps!
Category: Training / Community
Home Page: www.moonboard.com
Main Purpose: to help boulderers improve their skills and make every training session fun and interactive
If you have access to a Moon Board (either at your local gym or a personal setup at home), then you need to install the Moon Board App on your phone or tablet right now.
If not, don’t worry about using up the storage space because the app is useless without the board.
The Moon Board app is an indispensable training tool for anyone looking to up-the-ante in their typical bouldering sessions and challenges themselves in ways they never thought possible.
The app includes approximately 7,500 unique boulder problems and allows you to create your own problems and share them with friends as well!
Browsing through problems set by others or established by the Moon Board team is a breeze on this well-designed app.
The Bluetooth connection allows you to hook up your phone or the gym’s tablet to the board to illuminate the chosen route.
Changing problems only takes a single swipe of the screen, so you can squeeze significantly more training time into a shorter gym sesh.
The app is, of course, primarily geared towards boulderers and does require access to a Moon Board, so if bouldering hard in a gym is not your thing, then feel free to take a pass on downloading the Moon Board app.
It’s worth saying, that whilst this is a brilliant idea, and as we’ve said, essential to operate a Moon Board, the app doesn’t get great reviews, which is a shame.
Category: Navigation / Community
Home Page: www.cairnme.com
Main Purpose: to be a navigation app that tracks your progress and alerts emergency contacts when necessary to ensure your safety in the backcountry
Cairn is the mobile app that ever climber hopes to never use.
The app ensures your safety and promises a rescue attempt no matter where you are in case you get into trouble and can’t get yourself out.
Cairn has the ability to track your location as you venture into the wilderness using an extremely accurate GPS tracking system.
Before you take off on your climbing excursion, you simply enter a pre-designated return time into the app and at the end of the day, you check in to the app to let it know you’re not in danger.
If you don’t check-in to the app by the pre-designated time, it has the ability to alert your emergency contacts via email.
Cairn will also send a detailed map of exactly where you are so you can be found quickly and efficiently if you are in distress.
The best aspect of this app is the crowdsourced map showing where you can find cell service in the field to avoid getting lost in the first place!
Let’s all hope we never get into a situation where we actually need to use the Cairn app.
Home Page: www.animatedknots.com
Cost: £4.09 / $4.99
Main Purpose: to provide an easy-to-learn platform for how to tie an assortment of knots
Animated Knots has introduced a fun, innovative way for people of all ages to learn and practice knot tying for a wide variety of sports ranging from rock climbing to search and rescue and fishing.
The interactive interface makes learning how to tie knots an enjoyable pastime and the easy-to-navigate platform means that you won’t spend hours searching for the single knot you actually want to learn to tie.
The app offers detailed step-by-step instructions for hundreds of knots and multimedia animations make even the most complicated knots seems simple.
If you’re struggling with learning the ropes, take this app for a spin and you may just become an expert knot tier before you know it!
Category: Misc. (Grade Conversion)
Home Page: www.mec.ca
- Free App
- Subscription available for purchase in-app
Main Purpose: to provide a quick and reliable way to convert the many different climbing grade systems of the world
This super useful app is an invaluable tool for any climber travelling internationally with the intention to climb in new areas as they go.
Both the iOS and Android conversion apps listed above use a simple algorithm to change difficulty ratings between 16 different grading systems!
The simplicity of the interface combined with the variety of climbing grade conversions available makes this a must-have app for any travelling climber.
Keep in mind, the app doesn’t have the ability to account for sandbagging, so take the listed grades with a grain of salt and make sure to talk to locals for more accurate grade assessments once you arrive at the crag.
At this time, the free version of the apps only allows you to convert the Yosemite Decimal System (YSD / USA) to other systems, not the other way around.
You can upgrade to a subscription version in-app to convert from other systems to YSD if need be.
Category: Misc. (Ice Climbing)
Home Page: willgadd.com
- £35.99 / $25 for an annual subscription
- £43.70 / $50 for five years (features free updates for the entire 5-year subscription)
Main Purpose: to help people evaluate and locate ice climbs
If you’re an ice climber who’s looking for an easy way to discover and evaluate ice climbs in your area, then the Ice & Mixed app is for you!
The mobile app includes a comprehensive GPS overlay of more than 1,300 ice climbing routes in the Canadian Rockies, all of which are searchable by location, grade, length, aspect, and avalanche hazard.
And the top 100 routes include GPS locations for the parking lot, specific route coordinates, and a detailed description of the approach.
All of the routes listed are classified according to the Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale (ATES) and offer legitimate suggestions on where to go for low avalanche hazard climbs.
If you’re local to Canada or planning an ice climbing trip to the Canadian Rockies anytime soon, then make sure to download this app to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip!
So there you have it. 15 of the most popular climbing apps available on the market today.
We won’t say you can’t go climbing without downloading one of these useful apps, but we believe there is at least one app listed above that in some way would improve your climbing lifestyle (even if it’s just the super simple Climbing Weather app)!
Which one will you install? Did we miss one?
Let us know in the comments below.