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What do you like in a multipitch topo?
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Sep 5, 2016
I'm curious as to what people like in a topo on a multipitch route. Are you an old school handdrawn line topo kind of person? Do you like the more modern like full color photo with everything flagged out? Or maybe your idea of good "topo" is an index card with a few lines scribbled on it and a sentence or two about each pitch?

Moreover I wonder about people's preference to digital or paper? More likely to just tear a page out of a guide book vs. a high res image saved on your phone? Ect...
Nicholas Gillman
From Las Vegas
Joined Jan 27, 2015
365 points
Sep 5, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Sign near the Third Flatiron
Although it's really subjective and I like all guidebooks, for actual climbing it's pretty hard to beat the symbology, clean design, and accuracy of the SuperTopo route topos. I believe they are made in Adobe Illustrator (?) and they are very well thought-out.

Also very nice is the style of topo used by Jerry Handren in his Red Rocks guide. The more popular routes include photo topos and topos that use traditional topo symbology to lay out the routes.

I like guidebooks so much that I have books for areas I know I may not even make it too any time soon. For my local crags (Tahquitz and Joshus Tree) I have multiple guides from over the years, each useful in its own way.

While modern guides with clean, precise topos are excellent tools in the field, the most fun to read are the old guidebooks like the sierra club pocket guides, which often have no drawings at all, and include beta like "leave the trail after the fifth switchback to a ledge that leads to two right-facing corners. Follow the second open book for 1,000 feet."

There's just something cool about the expectation of adventure and unlocking the unknown on your own in the old guidebooks that's lost in most modern guidebooks.
Chris D
From the couch
Joined Apr 14, 2009
2,398 points
Sep 5, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Goliath Summit Shadows
I like toofast's topos pretty well.

An example here:
toofasttopos.com/free/wastelan...
Paul Zander
From Tucson, AZ
Joined Oct 15, 2012
670 points
Sep 5, 2016
I always appreciate clarity in approaches, walk offs, retreats, or if it is easily rappable. Sun/shade is nice but a map of the area typically allows me to figure that one out. Lastly, I typically find a topo more informative if it shows the nearby routes in relation to each other. dindolino32
Joined Feb 10, 2009
33 points
Sep 5, 2016
Just enough to get you there and down but adventure is the game! Kauait
From Sandy Utah
Joined Aug 6, 2015
4 points
Sep 5, 2016
Chris D wrote:
Also very nice is the style of topo used by Jerry Handren in his Red Rocks guide.


I have always been a fan of his illustration style topos

Chris D wrote:
I like guidebooks so much that I have books for areas I know I may not even make it too any time soon. .....There's just something cool about the expectation of adventure and unlocking the unknown on your own in the old guidebooks that's lost in most modern guidebooks.


Im the same way I have books to places just to have them more or less haha , and the old throwback books are awesome

Paul Zander wrote:
I like toofast's topos pretty well. An example here: toofasttopos.com/free/wastelan...


Thats actually pretty clean , a little busy but its all worthwhile info.
Nicholas Gillman
From Las Vegas
Joined Jan 27, 2015
365 points
Sep 6, 2016
A large and clear font. This might be because I'm getting old, but I can't see why people use such a small font. This is nothing to do with limited space, there is tons of white space in most topos. Some people also use very thin fonts which can be hard to read and would breach most workplace guidelines for making text clear to the widest possible audience. this seems strange at a time when a lot of coverage is given to the disabled in our sport. David Coley
From UK
Joined Oct 26, 2013
70 points


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