R.I.P. Dr. Topo

R.I.P. Dr. Topo

This is not the way I was hoping to start my day:

The website DrTopo.com is now closed.

Yes, after nearly a decade of providing free topos to some of the most popular climbing areas in the country, Dr. Topo is shutting down.  Not surprisingly, running the website was costing more in time and money than the operators were getting out of it, and they pulled the plug a few days ago.

Any submitted guidebooks are still available for download, but this apparently does not include the guides to areas like Bishop, HP40, So Ill and Rocktown that were made by the guys at Dr. Topo themselves.  I know I’ve been searching through my computer all morning to see if I still have copies of some of these.  Fortunately, there are high quality (but not free) guidebooks to many of these areas now, and a new HP40 guidebook should be out soon (stay tuned for more on that).

I’d personally like to thank the guys at Dr. Topo, especially Alex, for all they’ve done over the years.  I’ve used their books religiously and Alex was invaluable in helping me get the Devil’s Lake West Bluff bouldering mini guide up and running.  I think they’ve left an indelible mark on the entire climbing community with their hard work and vision over the years.

If you want to share your thoughts with the guys at Dr. Topo you can leave a message in their Guestbook or feel free to comment on this post as well.

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23 Responses to R.I.P. Dr. Topo

  1. sweatpants December 16, 2009 at 8:30 am #

    I noticed this 2 days ago when I went to check out a guide. What a bummer, I’ve always found Dr. Topo to be a great resource! You will be missed.

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  2. steve schultz December 16, 2009 at 8:47 am #

    That’s really sad actually. So many people used their guides and it’ll be a missed resource! Thank you so much guys!

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  3. Paul Campbell December 16, 2009 at 9:08 am #

    Well I cant seem to post the links (maybe im being spam blocked?) but you can still get the other PDF’s you mentioned. I would save them quick!

    Because I cant post all the links here is the first http://www.drtopo.com/alabama/horsepens40.pdf

    Here are the URL endings for the rest:

    /georgia/rocktown.pdf
    /illinois/soill.pdf
    /califo/druid.pdf
    /califo/buttermilk.pdf

    Enjoy

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  4. peter b December 16, 2009 at 9:35 am #

    Good story Brian and an illustration of the problem with free content on the web. By the way what’s the story with Momentum video these days?

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    • Narc December 16, 2009 at 9:47 am #

      Not much story to speak of when it comes to MVM these days. They tried both a pay model and a free model, neither of which seemed to pay the bills. MVM always talked about upgrading their offerings but it seems like the costs outweighed any potential reward in the long run.

      Of course, MVM’s downfall happened right around the time DPM started their video service. It’ll be interesting to see how long DPM can sustain their business model when it comes to videos. DPM seems committed to innovating and advancing their video platform in conjunction with actual sponsors so their future seems bright (for now).

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  5. Remo December 16, 2009 at 9:36 am #

    I loved printing off Dr. Topo guides before a trip. Nice clean paper that smells good when it prints, then by the time you get home from the trip it is all stained, wrinkled and torn. My HP40 guide is so trashed from multiple trips, I will have to try and laminate it now for preservation. Ah, the best guides ever! Thanks guys for giving us free climbing beta.

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    • Narc December 16, 2009 at 9:38 am #

      Sounds a lot like my copy as well. It will become a treasured ego booster when the new guidebook comes out and downgrades all the hard problems I’ve done there!

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  6. Ben December 16, 2009 at 10:12 am #

    Paul, do you have the Joe’s topo

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  7. Rockman December 16, 2009 at 10:39 am #

    Another triumph for the dirt bag climber who wants everything to be free and to get brodeals on all of their gear. Am I the only one who thinks someone else should pay for every thin? RIP Doc

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    • Ben December 16, 2009 at 10:47 am #

      I agree, I would have paid for all my topos!

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  8. Steve December 16, 2009 at 11:02 am #

    joes topo:

    http://www.drtopo.com/utah/joes.pdf

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  9. 9b December 16, 2009 at 12:24 pm #

    http://novebi.ning.com/profiles/blogs/the-problems-of-free-in?xg_source=activity

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  10. kieran December 16, 2009 at 10:34 pm #

    google search
    site:drtopo.com filetype:pdf

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  11. susanica December 17, 2009 at 11:44 am #

    dear drtopo, i’m: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZtSKLsVGqo

    with love,

    susanica

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  12. Some Guy December 17, 2009 at 3:13 pm #

    We as climbers need to try more to financially support businesses in our culture(not sure how)… Dr. Topo was one of the greatest assets in climbing…. not to mention the dope ass videos DT created for our viewing pleasure…

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  13. Brandon December 18, 2009 at 9:20 am #

    such a bummer! i am heading to jackson falls in SoIll today and really needed that pdf! if anyone has it, my e-mail is [email protected]. it would be HUGE if someone could send me a copy!

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  14. newton December 23, 2009 at 12:24 am #

    as far as i can tell, all those links are dead. if anyone has a soft copy of any guidebooks, i’d be happy to host them on my gym’s website. it’s not like it would cost me anything extra, i’d just upload the pdfs and provide links.

    if that sounds cool, just email me the pdf & i’ll try to get them up in the next couple of weeks.

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    • Narc December 23, 2009 at 8:06 am #

      I’m pretty sure I have most of the pdfs, but the Dr. Topo guys have politely requested that people not host them.

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      • newton December 23, 2009 at 9:59 am #

        oh. well that certainly changes things. it sounded in his “closing the doors” post that alex was pretty much totally done with it, but i for one would be thrilled if he offered the a link to download the drtopo books with a $5 paypal donation or something.

        i’ve actually only needed or used drtopo once, and then saw this post and realized that i never downloaded the rocktown pdf like i’d been meaning to do.

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  15. Narc December 23, 2009 at 10:20 am #

    Here’s what Alex from Dr. Topo said on their messagebook:

    Merci,
    thanks for the words of kindness. It’s nice to know we weren’t the only ones who enjoyed the adventure.

    I’ve got many offers from people that want to host the topos. Thanks but hosting fees was not the issue. Running a website requires much more than a server. Like most computer stuff, prices went down over the years and now hosting costs next to nothing. I’ll keep my server anyway as it can always come in handy. We could never get the support to bring DrTopo to the next level and I didn’t want to leave the website to sit and stay iddle. It might be hard to understand but please don’t host the topos on your website. We can’t stop you of using peer to peer to share the topos and that’s ok, but the guidebooks are officially unavailable right now.

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  16. rob January 15, 2010 at 8:13 pm #

    This is a great topic. I’m currently working on a website that will offer free topos to every state in the U.S. The site won’t be done until the end of 2010 but will offer a great deal of free topos similar to what dr topo did. I was wondering if we offered most topos free but had larger guidebooks downloadable for a small fee, if a lot of climbers would be interested in paying for certain more-detailed topos.
    Just trying to get a feel for our project
    Thanks

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    • Nathan February 9, 2010 at 10:32 pm #

      DR Topo led me to many great climbing adventures. It is sad to see them go. I think the idea for detailed topos for each state. I am working on getting video of routes and beta around the southeast. If you could use the video let me know [email protected]

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  17. Mathieu February 11, 2010 at 9:22 am #

    Does anyone have to HP40 topo ? Would be really appreciated if you could send it to me.

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