The Climbing Topos of the Future? 3D Climbing Maps with Climb Assist

Climber Brian Uyeno is taking climbing topos to the next level with his project, Climb Assist. His website (and hopefully soon, mobile app) allows climbers to inspect routes with never before seen levels of detail and accuracy. Uyeno utilizes a technology called photogrammetry (basically taking lots of pictures from all angles and melding them together) to create three-dimensional maps of climbing crags.


“I came up with this idea when doing some work that had some aspects of photogrammetry involved,” Uyeno wrote in an email exchange with Rock and Ice. “I had heard of photogrammetry, but hadn’t looked into it too heavily until then. After looking more deeply into the technology, I realized it could be a valuable tool for backcountry route-finding. … Originally I had planned on using it for long backcountry backpacking and mountaineering routes, but quickly realized that due to the distance and terrain that wasn’t going to be a possibility.”

Uyeno said that he soon found rock climbing, however, to be “a perfect fit for the technology, as the formations are relatively small and easy to map,” and went out and bought a DJI Phantom 4 Pro drone to begin taking high resolution photos from multiple angles.

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