A climber since age five, Bill Brooks is also the creator of MyClimb, a free, community-oriented rock climbing app for climbers of all levels. MyClimb lets you record your climbing, see your progress, and keep in touch with your friends and the worldwide climbing community in a fun, motivating environment. We sat down with Bill to hear about how MyClimb helps climbers, what inspires him, and what's next for the app.
Tell us about the MyClimb App. Who is it for, and what problem was it designed to solve?
MyClimb is a community of climbers that any climber can join. We use MyClimb to track our climbing progress by logging our climbs, which helps us set and reach climbing goals. It is also fun to see climbing photos from around the world and encourage other people in the community.
There is a ‘Find a Climbing Partner’ feature that is useful for meeting new people or coordinating climbing sessions.
Using MyClimb, climbers can log gym bouldering, gym routes, outdoor bouldering, sport climbing, traditional and ice climbing (single and multi pitch climbs). We are adding in alpine, mixed, and aid climbing soon!
What drew you to climbing, and what keeps you hooked?
I started climbing with my climbing mentor Lou Renner when I was five years old. When I was five, I used to follow Lou on traditional climbs to look for small plastic dinosaurs that he had hid in the rocks! Climbing in different disciplines keeps climbing fresh for me. Also, there is always so much to learn in improving your climbing, and feeling good about the small successes is important to stay motivated.
How often do you climb? Do you prefer indoor/outdoor?
I average 4-6 days a week over the course of the year. I prefer outdoor climbing, but I enjoy indoor climbing too—I just like to climb! My favorite climbing discipline is ice climbing. I love to be out in winter and I find ice climbing complex and engaging, as you have to use many of your senses to climb well. Strong ice has a certain look, feel and sound, so you as you climb you are visually assessing the structure of the ice and listening for how the ice sounds and feels, as your ice picks impact—this gives you a sense for the density of the ice. It is a constant learning process!
Is this your first app?
I don’t have a tech background (though I have learned a lot since MyClimb started!) and this is the only app that I have created. I am lucky to collaborate with talented people who do have tech backgrounds.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of creating MyClimb? Most challenging?
The most rewarding aspect personally has been communicating with members of the MyClimb community. I enjoy doing MyClimb Member Interviews—it is fun learning about people and seeing their climbing photos from all over the world.
Every aspect of MyClimb has its unique challenges—this keeps my work on MyClimb rewarding and interesting!
What’s the next big goal you’re working toward?
I would like to do a long technical alpine route.
What is one of your most memorable climbing experiences?
When I finally figured out how to climb off of a straight arm. I had previously climbed into the 5.11s, but relied too much on power and brute force. My climbing mentor had been working with me for awhile on climbing off of a straight arm (to conserve energy) and one day, in a gym, it just clicked. This was definitely one of my biggest climbing breakthroughs and I remember being very happy!
What’s next for MyClimb?
We are adding in the ability to log alpine, mixed, and aid climbing. Also, we are creating more advanced analytics for the personal climbing logs.
What’s your favorite FrictionLabs product?
I love the Unicorn Dust chalk! I like to carry one of the small 2.5 oz bags in my pack, in case I need to top off my chalk bag—I just save the 2.5 oz bag and refill it from one of the larger sized FrictionLabs chalk bags. I’ve never tried liquid chalk but would like to experiment with the FrictionLabs liquid chalk [Secret Stuff].
Where can readers learn more about you?
Follow my climbing by downloading MyClimb for iOS and Android devices.
There is a bit of info about me also on http://www.myclimb.com/.