Saturday, December 3, 2011

Camelback on the Web



At least three other sites focus exclusively on Camelback Mountain. They don't contain climbing info, but they're very enthusiastic about the hiking.

ClimbCamelback appears to be run by two guys -- Bobby Klingler and Jason Glashan -- who want people to hire them as a guide. I'm not sure why anyone would do that, but okay. They charge $110 to take one person up, with a sliding scale up to $200 for groups of 4-6. I'm not sure if this activity needs to be regulated by the city of Phoenix or not. I could see the city wanting to get involved if a company regularly ran large groups up there.

Klingler registered the site in August of 2007, earlier than I registered CamelbackPhoenix, (Feb of '08). I'm not sure, to be honest, if his site was up before mine -- it may have been. He's done more with his site and installed some bells and whistles -- map and weather links, for example. A big focus is the list of "times of the fastest hikers." I hope he does more with it. His photograph quality has room for improvement.


HikingCamelback.com is like Klingler's site, but contains a blog. It's not like my blog, which is a collection of stories along with some blog-like material. HikeCamelback's blog posts are quick hits, a couple of which have more personality than others. Those two are about "Lewi" (pictured above, in the pink helmet, from a shot ripped for the site) and friends. Lewi is someone the blogger went up with who kept a "blistering" 23-minute pace. Not bad at all. My best time is 26 minutes, by the way -- that was in the late '90s. Lewi intends to do it in 16 minutes and also beat Camelback Jack's amazing record of 25 ascents in 24 hours. For some reason, these guys are dressed like male strippers near the end of their act. I first came upon this site while doing a search for Web stories about Brian Z., a.k.a. Naked Man. Their short, November 7 post on Brian Z didn't contain much detail, but it did draw scathing criticism of Ewelina, the woman who saved Brian's life and posted the YouTube videos of him. The more recent post before that, a generic list of park regulations, was published October 1. That tells me these guys are on my sort of glacial time scale. Their site has a few qualities to respect, like the professional layout.

Recently I discovered "Trails to Camelback." This one seems to be the most similar to mine in spirit, but it only has three posts. Paige Gruner, who launched it, is a journalism student who just finished an internship at Channel 5. I love Paige's vision for this blog and hope she keeps adding to it:

"She wants to share her passion for hiking the beautiful mountain, the history behind Camelback, and her knowledge of the trails leading to the scenic view of Phoenix."

As far as climbing info, I recently found ClimbPhx. Internet sites about climbing in general (see my blogroll) tend to feature more outing reports, but I like the personal style of this one.

It's still in an early phase and lists more routes than it describes. For example, the author writes about routes like Spiderwalk (5.6) at the Supes as if they've climbed it, but don't give any sort of tale to go along with it. Could be they are working on it. When I and Webber climbed that one a few years ago, we found it quite the mini-epic. Especially the junkoid summit. I got off-route on the 2nd or 3rd pitch and had to lower off a twig about 25 feet. Amazingly, it didn't snap, I got back on track and we finished the climb.

I've been familiar with the Mountain Project site for years, and it often has the sort of stories I like to read -- such as the route description and all four comments on the Spiderwalk page. MP doesn't have a ton on Camelback, though. I prefer the kind of personalized story found on this site, LA Mountaineers, about a couple of Headwall climbs.

ClimbPhx, which appears to be the brainchild of a climber named Shiloh Dorsett, has a few outing reports from Camelback. I'm hoping to read more of his trips to the mountain. At left is a picture from the site's page on the Headwall.

Yelp, TripAdvisor and similar sites also contain reviews of Camelback, usually for the hiking, which sometimes contain some color. Major differences in opinion are to be expected, naturally.

I hesitate to disagree with any of them. Camelback is treacherous, and safe. It's difficult, and moderate. The climbing is rotten, and fantastic. The park is easily accessible, the parking situation is awful. The people are nice, and sometimes rude. It's a rockpile for residents of a soulless town who have nothing better to do, and it's a near-sacred mini-Mecca of outdoor recreation smack dab in the middle of paradise.

1 comment:

Christopher Vincent said...

Hey Ray, thanks for the write up and link. My name is Chris and I am one of the founders of HikingCamelback.com had some questions for you. Drop me a line at info@hikingcamelback.com

Thanks