I love being outside.  Naturally.  I also like going to the grocery store after a hard days climbing for a bag of Newmans Own organic chocolate chip cookies and seeing Outside Magazine on the shelf at the checkout.  With stoic poses of Kelly Slater and Lance Armstrong on the cover, and headers like, “The top 10 places you should never live,  ever”.  Or, “Why the outdoor industry just isn’t cool anymore.  And what you can do about it”.  But the online version is a different beast, with it’s many drop down menu’s, news flashes and rotating imagery, or is it?

A few days ago, a friend sent his congratulations along with this link…OUTSIDE MAGAZINE. .com.   Quite frankly, I’m still not sure what to make of it, should I be psyched, or embarrassed?  Can you really create a top ten Best list for climbing sites?  Really?  Wow.

Without wanting to sound like one of those annoying pot head conspiracy theorists, but sometimes, I wonder if they do this sort of thing to collect data and information?   Seriously, (not really), but sort of…lets say for example, that they do this for every sport they cover, climbing, running, biking, swimming, skiing, whatever it is,  (they cover a lot of rad sports), oh yah, surfing, paddle-boarding, yadda yadda yadda.  I’m not prying, I’m just curious, I think it’s good to wonder, even if you sound like a dink.  So anyway, ya, lets say they run a ‘TOP TEN BEST BLOG’ list on every sport,  then, they sit back, and collect the data.  If every blog does what I do, which is publicly pat themselves on the back, (and I suspect they will), then Outside Mag.com will get an increased number of hits from each site,  (or Facebook likes), won’t they?

I’m no intraweb specialist, so correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that how it works, and can’t they tell where these “HITS” are coming from?   If so, then they probably pay some young keen intern from Boulder, Colorado to stay late and crunch the numbers.  Maybe it’s just a fun way to celebrate climbing, or maybe it’s a target market research experiment, maybe it’s to see who the largest user groups are, and to specifically sell advertising to reach them?  Maybe they’ll learn that SURFING got 10 Trillion pingbacks or whatever they’re called. and CLIMBING only got like 1,432 because it just so happens that Adam Ondra recently sent another V16 and the video is SICK – which by the way, it WAS, watch Adam crushing HERE.

But, it’s all in good fun I suppose, (isn’t everything?), not to mention good business sense too, so I’ll roll with it, why not?

It sort of feels like when you do a climb that’s unexplainably easy for you – maybe you’re just tall enough, or just short enough, or your finger fits in that little tiny pocket like so, or maybe you’re too damn strong, or you’re wearing lucky pink underwear, the point is, you crushed it, then you say, “there’s no way that’s a 5./V/A/Whatever”.  BUT,  your friends kindly remind you that it IS printed in the guidebook bro, it’s been published dude,  so you take it, and why wouldn’t you, who cares, mark it down in your little pocketbook with a little red pen, like my buddy Alex Honnold does, then smile, pat yourself on the back and move onto the next climb, which, if you’re like me, you’ll then get schooled on and beat down.

The moral of this dribbling rant is that we all have little surprises out there waiting for us, ones we should be grateful for, and this one in Outside Magazine is no different, I’ll mark down with a little yellow LINK,  to say THANK YOU, it’s truly an honor, my mom and dad will be proud of me:) not to mention my sponsors, which I’ll be sure to politely share this news with, so I can hound them for a few extra bucks to get my sorry ass to Hueco in January.  he he:)    Okay, enough deep (and ridiculous) thoughts. Thanks Outside, I love you, please keep up the GREAT work.

P.S.  Congrats to all the bloggers on the list, and props to Narc for being #1.  Respect!!

P.P.S.  What’s a blog these days without imagery,  I’ll leave you with pictures of Bishop and the The beautiful ancient Bristlecone Pines!  Peace!

The Thunderbird is a Bishop CLASSIC.  It’s affordable, warm, and located right downtown.

The 4000 year old Bristlecone Pines are not only true survivors, they are stunning.

Bishop is located in the Deepest Valley on the Continent, surrounded by 14,000 ft peaks.

The Buttermilks, always a pleasant place to drink more coffee.

  • You’re right, Sonnie. The goal of this kind of list is absolutely to generate incoming links for Outside’s website. It’s a tactic called “linkbait” or “linkbaiting” and it’s very, very common. Incoming links boost a website’s “authority” and increase it’s rank in search algorithms, allowing the sites to charge more for ad space, etc.

  • Sonnie

    Ha, thanks for the info Julian. Mucho appreciated. I didn’t realize it had a name too. perfect. The way you describe it seems so simple, I guess we all do it then, on some level or another, thanks for clearing it up for me, I like, I link, I’m definitely playing the game as well I suppose. Many thanks, and Long live the game of life.

    Now lets go rock climbing…

  • Keith Preston

    Sonnie……how about giving us a photo / blog tour of how you’ve outfitted your van. I’ve always wondered how you pro climbers manage yourselves in those vans touring around this beautiful country and climbing. Thanks for the inspiration brother!

  • Sonnie

    Will do Keith, coming soon, I’ve gotten many requests for this, and I think it’s about time, but I promise, it’s nothing fancy.

  • Dave

    “linkbait” or not, they still want the top 10! and you do good work! Congrats and thanks.

  • Yes, more van details please! I love the way you outfitted it, it’s way, way better than any other ‘live in a van’ concepts I’ve seen.

    You might check out http://www.tinyhouseblog.com, it’s one of my favorites, and it’s neat to see different ways that people are coming up with to simplify their lives and live in very small, very cool spaces.

  • That’s a really good analogy for how I felt about making the list as well. I would have put your blog much higher myself. Thanks for the shout out!