Best Apps For Climbers

Phones are get­ting bet­ter all the time—and so are the ways to use them out­side! There are hun­dreds of ways to use your phone at the crag, and these apps are some of the best.


mountainprojectdark3Moun­tain Project

Put sim­ply, Moun­tain Project is the dig­i­tal guide­book for climb­ing world­wide. A user-gen­er­ate data­base of climb­ing areas lets users down­load infor­ma­tion for crags, which is then avail­able offline—so you can browse routes, pho­tos, com­ments, and rat­ings all while off the grid. And with over 110,000 routes avail­able world­wide, chances are good that you’ll run out of grip strength before you run out of routes. Avail­able for iOS and Android; free.

gaiagpsdark3Gaia GPS

Gaia is the best back­coun­try nav­i­ga­tion app on the market—and it’s so good, experts say, that it’s actu­al­ly replac­ing hand­held GPS units in the field. You can down­load unlim­it­ed topos, set tracks, record each trip’s dis­tance and ele­va­tion changes, cross-ref­er­ence with oth­er maps, and back every­thing up to an online serv­er. The app offers a deep array of cus­tomiz­able set­tings and fea­tures for back­coun­try nav­i­ga­tion, and with the newest ver­sion you can share trips with oth­er users. And no, the app doesn’t require a cel­lu­lar con­nec­tion to work—you sim­ply pre-down­load the maps you’ll need, then oper­ate in air­plane mode while you’re on the trail. Avail­able for iOS and Android; $19.99 for the app, plus an addi­tion­al $19.99 for the map data­base.

weatherdark3Climb­ing Weath­er

Rather than look­ing at fore­casts for the clos­est town, this app gives detailed sev­en-day fore­casts for crags them­selves. With infor­ma­tion about sky con­di­tions, pre­cip­i­ta­tion, and wind speed and direc­tion for crags around the US, you can bring all the gear you need to stay warm and dry. There’s also a fea­ture that uses your phone’s GPS to find the loca­tion and weath­er at your clos­est crags. Avail­able for iOS and Android; free.

knotdark3Ani­mat­ed Knots

There are lots of knot-tying apps on the mar­ket, but this is a long­time user favorite for good rea­son. The easy-to-nav­i­gate plat­form gives detailed infor­ma­tion and step-by-step instruc­tions for hun­dreds of knots, and the mul­ti­me­dia ani­ma­tions make even the most com­pli­cat­ed hitch­es seem sim­ple. The climb­ing knots are exten­sive, but there are also cat­e­gories for camp­ing, search and res­cue, fishing—even tying a tie! Kids will love learn­ing to craft an emer­gency har­ness out of web­bing. Avail­able for iOS and Android; $4.99.


Cairn is the app you hope you’ll nev­er need. Tell it where you’re going and when you’ll be back; if you don’t check in by a pre-des­ig­nat­ed time, the app will alert your emer­gency con­tacts via email, com­plete with a map of exact­ly where you’ve been. Bonus fea­ture: the app also includes a crowd-sourced map show­ing where you can find cell ser­vice in the field. Avail­able for iOS and Android; free.