This March, after hours of bike riding and taxi hailing, I got to meet the man behind the Climbfind curtain: Jonathon Kresner. Jonathon lives in San Francsico, home to three conferences I regularly attend for work. When I learned he had moved to the area I jumped on the chance to meet face to face. I had no idea that this would turn into an evening of adventure and innuendo. The part of San Francisco where Jonathon lives is called the Presidio (Reads: Maze). The complex labyrinth of streets between him and civilization meant I needed to hail a cab with GPS. After an hour, I found one, and on the way to his hovel the cab driver turned to me and said, “Who LIVES out here?!?” My thoughts exactly.
Climbfind was first imagined on the London tub between Baron’s Court and Hammersmith station on the Piccadilly line some time in April of 2008. The idea was to create a website that would facilitate climbers finding partners and locations geographically. A few months of dogged coding later the site went live and Jonathon and his partners in crime, Kevin Kinnison and Lauren Holt, set off on an eight day road trip to visit 30 climbing gyms around the UK. Despite problems with Sheila (the van) they papered the UK, and in 2009, the US with Climbfind posters and cards.
While the site is chugging along quite nicely right now, the next overhaul scheduled to release some time in the next month is going to blow everyone away. The new Climbfind will feature cool satellite views of outdoor climbing areas, the ability to track your climbs in both indoor and outdoor locations, partner and climb recommendations based on ability and location, indoor climb reviews, a place to submit setter feedback, tick list management and more. It’s everything you could ever want in a climbing website. Right now users can get a preview of the website with the new Climbfind iPhone app. Find nearby climbing locations, see who has “checked in,” and in the future, scan bar codes at the gym to keep track of your progress.
When I asked Jonathon if he was nuts to dump a steady job and life to pursue a life of 24/7 coding, he said:
“I am nuts for sure. Most people don’t have the same tolerance for risk and lack of security that I have. I also have a very overwhelming inner calling to ‘create’ with the time that’s been giving to me. Deep inside I believe beyond doubt that Climbfind is going to be 10 times the size of any existing climbing website. I also very deeply believe in the cause and philosophy. When you add everything up it’s kind of a simple equation. Why not do something you’re passionate about that enables you to be creative and move people rather than working for someone else’s silly agenda that means nothing to you.”
Boldness means taking the necessary risk to have the kind of life you want. Whatever that might mean – working on crazy business schemes or simply living a good life – at some point it will mean stepping outside of your comfort zone and taking tangible steps towards living that life. Crazy or not, Climbfind is an awesome website that is about to take over. That’s why Jonathon Kresner and the Climbfind team are the first to be featured in the Rock and Sky “Boldness” series.
So sign up if you haven’t already, and keep a look out for all the great things that are on their way from Climbfind.com.