Posting photos online? “Redline” your route


As we like to say here at AlpineSavvy: “A map or photo of the route is great, but a map or photo with your route drawn on it is better.”

You’ve just finished a climbing route that’s been on your tick list for a long time, you took a bunch of great photos, and you’re ready to post to social media.

If you have some good photos of the mountain and route, do everyone a big favor before you post: take a minute or so, use a simple photo editing tool, and draw a line on the photos showing exactly where you went. This turns your photograph from a pretty picture into a useful tool for anyone who sees it. (And it sure doesn't have to be red, use any color you like.)

Drawing a simple line on a photograph can be done with lots of free or browser-based photo editing software. If you want to get fancy, you can add an arrow or some text annotation as well. (I’m a fan of PhotoScape X. It’s free, works on Mac and Windows, lots of features but still easy to use for simple things like text and arrows.)

Note that you don't even have to use your own photo for this. You can take a Google Earth screengrab, save it as a jpeg, and then draw over that. Examples are below.

You should always make a copy of the original photo before you start so you don’t mess with it.

Example: Here’s a photo of North Sister from the SW Ridge approach. Ho hum, pretty boring. But, add a simple line, and suddenly it's a LOT more useful. And, maybe add an arrow and annotation, which only takes another minute or so, to improve it even more.


Photo taken on route: North Sister, SW ridge. Yawn, and not much help to anybody.

north sister.jpg

North Sister, SW ridge approach. Route redlined.  Now we're talking!

north sister route redline.jpg

North Sister, SW ridge approach. Route redlined and key route beta added with arrow and text. (Gee, thanks for ruining my onsight!)

north sister route redline and text.jpg

You can also do the same thing with Google Earth. Here's an example of the Leuthold Couloir route on Mount Hood.


Mt Hood, Leuthold Couloir route, Google Earth screen grab.

mt hood leuthold google earth.jpg

Mt Hood, Leuthold Couloir route, Google Earth screen grab, with route redlined.

mt hood leuthold google earth route line.jpg

Mt Hood, Leuthold Couloir route, Google Earth screen grab. Route redlined, and adjacent "off route" areas shown. 

mt hood leuthold google earth route line and text.jpg