SuperTopo Forum to shut-down June 1, 2019


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May 19, 2019 - 10:55am PT
The forum system was designed to provide freedom with no responsibility. Some rules that might change that balance and permit someone to commit their time to constructing and moderating a new system.:

1. Subscription charge of $50 per year per avatar. (paid by personal check)
2. If too few send in checks the checks received can all be torn up.
2. No photos at all
3. Both lurkers and posters must subscribe.
4. Maximum of one post per day.
5. Subscribers have access to existing ST archive
6. Rejection (with reason sent to email addy) for uncivil posts.
7. More than 10 rejections in a year causes poster to lose their year's subscription ( with no refund).

That a firm closure date has been set suggests the ST's purchaser has stepped forward and thus would be a participant.

I chose a number to cut down on the posting fights involving no thought. If there is a limit people will tend to think out what they are doing.

Trad climber
New England
May 19, 2019 - 11:58am PT
Thanks for your time and energy, Chris.

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 19, 2019 - 12:15pm PT
Thanks for hosting the forum. Like many users, my use of the forum has diminished over the years. But it was great having a forum where you could listen in on conversations from climbers from the 60s onwards. There were so many great threads and trip reports on this site.

Social climber
Southern Arizona
May 19, 2019 - 12:53pm PT
You say that the forum doesn't make any money. I'm not sure I would look at the Forum that way. It's tempting to look at different product lines, product features, or support services as independent profit-making activities, but that may be missing a bigger picture. Many companies these days have help desks that are mandatory for a product / service, and they are rarely looked at as profit centers. Their costs get allocated to the product lines or customer groups that those help desks support or serve. The forum might be something similar.

It's been theoretically argued that every web site should be building and maintaining a community between the organization and its customer base. If I look at the different activities offered in the topic bar on the home page, I would not say that any other product offering builds community nearly as much as the Forum. Some evidence for that conclusion might be the overwhelming number of positive comments presented in this thread.

People in organizations often get tired of working on a feature or product / service that does not directly lead to profits. Such activities are often seen as ugly step children who deserve only a little love. That might signal that new management needs to be brought in who DO love those activities and who understand how those "cost centers" contribute to overall superior offerings to customers.

Management is or should be looked at as a creative activity. Every problem hides a profit.

I'm sure that my thoughts don't count (and I have no keen data to work with), but the responses to the notification that the Forum will cease on the 1st of the month seem significant and powerful. I wish I knew the demographics and the buying behaviors of those who economically support Supertopo's offering. Would it, for example, be the case that only naive and novice climbers buy climbing books and need pointers to climbs and gear, while the Forum attracts only the well-seasoned climber? Is there a disconnect between those customer segments; or, with experience, do naive and novices drift over to the Forum in time, so that there is a kind of life cycle of climbers / buyers? Disney, for example, understood that it's primary customer group of young children was re-generated every 7 years, and that it could sell a child's wonderment to its parents and grandparents who simply enjoyed watching gleeful little kids in amusement parks, ships, musicals, movie houses, and hotels. Disney sees a very large picture of what it's providing and how. Even its street sweepers can recite the organization's mission, vision, and how it achieves those even down to their level.

In all of this, I wondered how costly it would be to provide closer monitoring of the Forum so that the "minority of forum members" who supposedly give rise to legal liability are given shots across the bow or cut from the pack entirely.

Legal advice in organizations is almost always oriented to preventing the downside possibility that some community member will stray morally or illegally. Attorneys very rarely show an organization the upside possibilities of insightful and creative product-service offerings.

Be well.

May 19, 2019 - 03:28pm PT
Sounds oppressive Jstan with one post a day one would be growing old waiting for a thread to unfold
Rattlesnake Arch

Social climber
Home is where we park it
May 19, 2019 - 03:41pm PT
Been here for awhile, more lurking than posting, although I posted some. Gonna miss it.....
Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
May 19, 2019 - 03:41pm PT
Thank you, Chris, for having this forum and site for the climbing community to connect with. Everyone wants to belong to a community and everyone wants to be a welcome part of a group. We all want our be our unique selves but also fit in somewhere in our world. Supertopo was that for many of us. Some of the trip reports are etched into my brain for my "eternity". Friends I have meet on supertopo are the as good as anyone could ask for. The supertopo community has supported them fundraisers I had at my house and raised tens of thousands of dollars for our brothers and sisters in need. I too have had life struggles which the supertopo community has rallied around me for mental, emotional and financial support. Supertopo was the voice of the American times awesome and inspiring as anything anyhere, at times not so politically correct, at time beautiful and heart wrenching, at times honest and raw. Always colorful, honest, and all of life's beautiful and ugliness. Thanks to all for everything. Keep in touch with me and with each other, be kind, listen to your heart, check your knots and tie in, ...and shred. . .

Trad climber
San Mateo, CA
May 19, 2019 - 03:51pm PT
Can anyone shed some light on what lawsuit triggered this ? Maybe I missed it ?

May 19, 2019 - 04:57pm PT

Occam's razor says the dude is just sick of doing it
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

Out Of Bed
May 19, 2019 - 05:09pm PT
I have to try once

After 18 years,
yes, like the end of High School
it was enough,
some times you can teach,
get some of the kind of change needed
To make a difference, but for so many
nothing makes a dent- more of the same
tearing down, not building up

At some point, after you gave it the best shot & it wasn't enough.
it was enough to have tried,
Time to stop digging

There was no one thing,
it was everybody & everything

It is all the things - that then, When one thing went pop,

the Dadz had to shutter the Taco truck

The Taco truck was not up to code

and the corrupt inspectors were onto us.

They would just continue to wreck things

And get money from our hosts for our free ridez

Also, Too, Realize, that as cute as you all find the sick...
They cost this place,
someone might have lost a job or not been hired
or not have gotten a promotion
or had a child denied acceptance to a school.
(All for the sin of being guilty by association)
Someone could claim they were being ripped off...
thare was one or 2 well-known hat-holes who still have 6-7 avatars,
& a sociopath to boot- -- - Well 6 or 7 of them types too.

Mayor Gonzo ! !
"little Mike" here...

--Ha howe
A blondie with Pig Tails To pull,
you know I can't resist me some random blond

Todd You Take care of Old Lady Lori
You need to instill in her the blood of the Gonzo

She missed out so has survived to revive all that wide eyed stoke

I'll jus` add
That If this weren't now
& maybe in 5 years

I will again cast a shadow, across your threshold,
make a bunk so be a bump in your yard,
if I am welcome.

 be well you ole' dawg

I can't believe how Lucky Lori is

Reach out and take a sip off of a Tucker for me
you don't drink much anymore either do you?

Big Wall climber
Portland, Oregon
May 19, 2019 - 05:10pm PT
My teenage daughter remarked, "Dad, that's your only form of social media!"

'tis true.

Shipoopoi, hope to stay in touch, along with the friends and supporters I met only because of SuperTopo. My appreciations to Chris and RJ for making it possible.

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
May 19, 2019 - 05:54pm PT
What Todd said.

Thanks Chris and RJ.
the Fet

May 19, 2019 - 06:06pm PT
Iím sure the forum was always intended as marketing as well as a community service.

Often when I googled questions about Yosemite or anchors and many other things rock climbing related SuperTopo was among the top results. So if someone else googled ďwhat beginner climb is good in YosemiteĒ theyíd end up here and possibly buy SuperTopo books. Itís why REI bought Mountain Project. The problem with that is Iím sure guide books donít make much money. When interest and profits shifted toward Outdoor Gear Lab (smart that it covers all outdoor gear not just climbing stuff) this site and business likely took a back seat. Why spend time and money on a site that doesnít return much, if any profit.

Iím not surprised itís ending. Any private site could face the same fate.

I appreciate the heads up and time to say our goodbyes.

I would like to know more about the legal problems and who is to blame but Iím sure itís not the best idea to share that info.

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
May 19, 2019 - 06:44pm PT
Thanks Chris and RJ. Eighteen years!? Kudos on you for pulling it off this long. I hope to heck you get a metric-ton of $$$$ for the domain name. Ignoring the moderation of the trolling BS and honest differences in opinion, this sh*t doesn't run itself. In 2001 disk storage for all those photos we all post cost about 2 thousand times as much as now (*1). RJ I'll buy you a beer or whatever any day.

I loved the many generations contributing even though we California-centric old farts have perhaps "contributed" too much.

Ach well, sad but the way it goes. Hey remember rec.climbing!?

(*1) 2001: $10-$50/GB. It now costs about 3 cents/GB.

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
May 19, 2019 - 07:13pm PT
Not sure why but all of this reminds me of the last scenes in the Truman Show.

In case I don't see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!


PS - Thanks Chris for all the fantastic years.

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
May 19, 2019 - 07:35pm PT
My first engagement with supertopo was with some topos shared to Western mountaineering retail shop. I had recently done Crying time and sent feedback and Chris got me in touch with Greg Barnes. I would later live within a short block of Greg before they moved to CO.

The topos were amazing! Detailed and helpful. The forum went up and rec.climbing went away, to me. Several great friends later I look back with fondness.

Things change though. the next forum is out there. Maybe or a what I call climber microsites, or maybe even ..... rock! Lol

See ya out there! Let's go climbing!
Ricky D

Trad climber
Under the Webmasters Thumb
May 19, 2019 - 07:39pm PT
Arnold the Barbarian said it best -

"Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of the women!"

Ice climber
Salt Lake City
May 19, 2019 - 08:22pm PT
I've been struggling for two days about whether to even post or not, as I've mostly been a lurker for many years now (though I am surprised to learn just now that I have accrued 177 posts!) and I also just didn't know what to say. I decided to post up because the forum really has meant a lot to me for multiple reasons, and has sometimes really honored and flattered me, and I want to honor it back by saying a formal goodbye. Looking back on my posting history (a nice feature that I fear will be disabled), I was reminded of much I'd forgotten of my own history since I joined in 2004. The ST forum was part of my life through most of my prime climbing years, and more recently has still been a place I come to fondly, even if with a tinge of blue for life's changes. I know there have been some notorious problem posters, these being changing characters through the years. I think I fortunately managed to mostly ignore them, bypass or brush through them, or just laugh and eye roll at most of the absolute worst that has gone on in this forum. I will really, really miss a lot of what I've seen good in this community and what the forum enabled.

I am very glad the text will remain, but very sad the photos will disappear. The photos and text in their thread contexts are an incredible and irreplaceable assemblage of history, legend, passion, beauty, brilliance, honor, humor, audacity, irreverence, information, inspiration, and more words I can't even think of. I have so appreciated posts on so many topics made by so many people still here, and also no longer here. I just can't find words that fully capture what I feel this forum and its many sincere contributors created. Here's to the Supertopo forum's epic epoch. SkŚl!

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
May 19, 2019 - 08:40pm PT
Gonna miss you all . . . love and best wishes to everyone.

This is just another sign of the devolution this country is suffering.


May 19, 2019 - 09:43pm PT
Thanks for the ride. It was.. interesting.
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