If you want your climbing route drawn on a map, or a track to follow on your GPS, it usually starts with a GPX file. Here’s how to take a dive into Peakbagger.com to get the file you need to stay found.
It’s helpful to have documents (pdf maps, GPX track, guidebook scans, trip roster, etc) related to a hike or climb available offline on your phone. It's easy to do in Google Drive if you follow these steps.
An “elevation profile” is a sort of sideways look at your route, showing distance and elevation gain on a graph. It's a very handy tool to study your route, and making one with the great mapping software Caltopo takes just a couple of clicks.
Camping is great. Free, secluded camping on public lands you already pay for with taxes is even better. Here’s how to use some modern mapping tools to find camping options.
Weather forecasts don't have to be boring. Windy.com shows you worldwide weather patterns at a glance, and also gives pinpoint local forecasts that are easy on the eyes. (Works on mobile devices and shows webcams, too, take that, mountain-forecast!)
The Mt. Rainier climbing rangers have written an excellent series of guides for the most popular routes. which have a lot more detail and quality than you might expect. Definitely recommended reading if you are planning a Rainier climb.
There are now some fantastic navigation resources online, but it can be confusing how to use them most effectively and where to get started. Watch this video to see one way to plan a climb, from start to finish.
Want to know the amount of snow on the ground anywhere in the US and most of Canada? This is your go-to website. This interactive map from the US Forest Service is easy to use, understand, and shows real-time snow info for your trip planning.
A slick lesser-known trick in Caltopo is stacking various map layers onto each other to highlight unique map features. Learn how to do it.
“Slope angle shading” is a bit of cartographic wizardry that adds an overlay of color coded slope angle to a base map. It’s a handy tool for route planning, avalanche avoidance, and even sniffing out waterfalls.
“Sno-Tel” data stations show real time weather data for hundreds of mountain locations, including snow depth, recent snowfall, and min/max temperatures.
Sometimes in the rush to leave the house, we may forget to leave important information with our emergency contact person. Take a few extra minutes and do it right.
Google maps and driving directions works great in the city, where places have street addresses. But what do you do in the backcountry? Answer: use latitude longitude coordinates in decimal degrees, to pinpoint any spot in the world and (usually) get driving directions to it.
Google Earth is great for wasting time at work, but it's good for a lot more than eye candy. Learn a few tricks about how to scope your route at home, complete with a route line and annotation added.
Posting photos of your latest mountain outing is great. How about making them a lot more useful by adding in some route info with simple drawing tools?
Use this great website to see all of the active wildfires the Western US. Always check this before you leave home in the summer - don’t let a distant fire shut down your trip.
If you already have a PDF file of a map that you’ve made in Caltopo or other mapping software, why not save a copy to your phone? It’s free, fast and weighs 0.00 grams.
There are lots of weather websites out there. But none of them are is beautiful and mesmerizing as this one.