Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Is the Web saying "happy trails" to guidebooks?


I've been messing around on www.14ers.com.
The site is way cool. It has a map of all the fourteeners. Put your cursor over a peak and a photo of the peak pops up. Double click on the peak and a whole page of photos, maps, and descriptions appear: pretty much everything you need to climb the peak. Plus, trip reports posted on the site will tell you what conditions the trails are in.
And the cost for this helpful service? Nothing.
It seems to me the days of spending $25 for a good guidebook are nearing an end, which is bitter sweet for me. I really like the old guidebooks. They're generally written by passionate, interesting dudes. Each one is a snapshot of its era and has its own personal flavor. It will be a shame to lose that.
On the other hand, the writing is more concise and portable in the books, so I don't think they'll disappear tomorrow.

So we're in a golden age now, great guide books and great new internet resources. Pretty good time to be hitting the trail.

1 comment:

Zen said...

Good dog-eared guidebooks will forever find a home in the back of our hatchbacks and the bottom of our backpacks. This I am sure of. No batteries needed, no worries if they're dropped, no complaints if they get dunked. But let's get down to what really matters - a good guidebook to read in the out-of-bounds crapper is as American as mom and apple pie. Amen.