Friday, May 27, 2011

Style Versus Substance

There are a bunch of sites out there that purport to provide information for the mountain traveler, be it on foot, or on skis. Some are commercially based, some not, but all try various tactics, from free access to the site, to competitions with valuable prizes, to drive traffic to their site with varying degrees of success. The one thing these sites have in common is that they all "appear" to have a lot going on - pictures scroll across the screen, updates on elite athletes flash by, there are links to Twitter and Facebook, making it appear that by not being linked in you risk missing information of tremendous value.

But, when you strip it all away, there is a sad lack of substance. You'll find perhaps a handful of trails, climbing routes and ski runs - all of which are either well documented in easily available guidebooks, or so close to nearby ski hills that their location is common knowledge - you may even find some cursory gear reviews (where strangely almost every product receives a near perfect rating). But what you won't find are trips to less well visited places, new ideas for your own adventures, details on routes, ski tours, and climbs that aren't either part of the common language of the outdoor community or in local guidebooks.

And there's the rub - if you want people to use your site, you're going to have to get out and do something out of the ordinary yourself and document it. 

At the end of the roped section of climbing on the first ascent of a new route on Dag

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