Toni Morrison once said: “If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” In the context of the web, this is how PeakBucket was born. It was February of 2014 in the Adirondacks and I was helping my friend Michael simplify his “ascent list”, a spreadsheet with an intricate web of tabs and formulas that he created to keep track of his list progress. I too had a spreadsheet like this. Were there summit logging websites? Sure; but they didn’t do what we needed them to do. As many peakbaggers do, Michael and I were working on several lists simultaneously and tracking them in different ways – the peaks on this list in the winter, the peaks on that list in each season and the peaks on yet another list in each month of the year. As we talked about ways to simplify the inevitably time-consuming task of tracking peaks this way in a spreadsheet, we both agreed: there must be a better way.
Fast forward to November of the same year. Max and I worked together at the time and we were experimenting with data visualization, responsive web design and MVC frameworks. We talked about starting a “side project” to bring these things together in a cohesive manner. I explained the many frustrations my peakbagging friends and I had with the existing peak tracking resources and he agreed that building one was a promising project idea. I was excited; not only because this was an opportunity to build something with new technology, but more so because it was a chance to build something that I wanted to use but could not find.
Today marks one year since we first started working on PeakBucket. This project brings together a passion for technology with an appreciation of the outdoors. On the technology side, our goal is to bring a simple solution to the space of online peak tracking that offers both a robust feature set and a streamlined user interface on devices of all sizes. On the outdoor side, our goal is to help people set, track and attain their peakbagging goals. I recently read an article that talked about state highpointers, and this quote really stood out to me:
“It’s not about a list. It’s about the experiences. The list just gets you out there.”
Sometimes when I explain peakbagging to people, they think it’s about obsessive number crunching, but this interpretation misses the point. As a peakbagger, the things I track aren’t so much about what I’ve done as they are about what I have left to do. What I want most as a user of a peak tracking resource is a place where I can keep track of my experiences in the mountains, which motivates me to keep making new ones. This is what we’ve set out to provide with PeakBucket.
While we’re excited to introduce things like activity-based peak tracking and list completion styles, what you see on the site today is just the beginning. Max and I are committed to making PeakBucket the premier peak tracking resource on the web. To do this we need your help. We’ve built the site in such a way that we can rapidly add new peaks, lists and features for users worldwide. So please check out www.peakbucket.com and let us know what you think. We’re just getting started and we can’t wait to hear what else you’d like to see on the site!