UKC Host 5th ClimbWeb Conferenceby Alan James - UKC May/2011
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ClimbWeb.net was initially set up back in 2007, mostly under the initiative of Cedric Larcher from the French site Kairn.com, and has had new members joining ever since with the current total standing at 13 web sites from across the world - more information is available on the ClimbWeb Website - UKClimbing.com joined in 2009. The sites work closely together and share a similar ethos on climbing and on climbing journalism as well as using each others skills and knowledge to develop the commercial and technical aspects of all the sites.
The gathering was held this year in the bunkhouse above Pete's Eats in Llanberis which provided a great location for both discussion and plenty of food and drink. The topics we covered included optimising our sites for mobile devices, topic coverage across the sites, a ranking system for climbers and integration with Facebook.
Being a gathering of like-minded climbers, the informal chat that takes place at the crag, in cars and at the pub is possibly of even more interest. This year we were forced to make some long journeys to avoid the wet weather but still managed to climb on all four days. A wet Carreg Hyll Drem provided the only option on Monday. On Tuesday we moved onto a cold Gogarth which included a team-of-three ascent of Dream of White Horses for two of the Czechs as their first ever trad route! The best weather eventually arrived after heavy rain on Wednesday morning so fast-drying Slate quarries were called for.
Sadly this year not as many sites were able to attend (was it the weather, the trad climbing or the air fares that put them off?) but there were representatives from Belclimb.net (Belgium), Klettern.de (Germany) and Czechclimbing.com/Lezec.cz (Czech Republic).
We were also very pleased to welcome US climbing writer Peter Beal to take part this year. Peter commented:
"The Climbweb meeting was one of the most enjoyable and enriching climbing experiences I have had a long time. To have the chance to meet with other writers and editors in one of the most storied and beautiful locations in the world was a wonderful opportunity. As a blogger and writer, I got to engage in discussions about the challenges facing new media in the climbing world and learned a lot about the business end especially. The international nature of the meet was especially important. It has inspired me to begin looking again at where I want to take my online presence next.
Most memorable of all was the chance to climb with new friends in one of the most magical climbing areas on the planet. Whether climbing beside the sea in Anglesey, exploring the surreal atmosphere of the Dinorwig slate quarries, or at the pub enjoying some of the best beer in the UK, I found myself drawn ever deeper into the unique ambiance of the Welsh scene. I can't wait to get back!"
Next year the event is set for the Frankenjura in Germany. Let's hope for some slightly better weather!
We would like to thank all those who attended and also Mark Glaister for acting as host, Mark Reeves for helping on the last day and Pete's Eats for supplying their excellent bunkhouse. Here are some more photos.