There is a solution for almost everything. And each of these solutions comes in the form of an app. Sometimes extremely useful, sometimes just a gimmick. The mobile device in your pocket is the digital pocket knife of our time. So it is only logical that the world of apps also found its way into mountain sports - especially for activities in winter. We present some of them to you.
A contribution by Fabian Reichle - Bächli Bergsport
The abundance of apps is gigantic, so the first thing to do is to clear them out. We have compiled this list according to a few criteria - otherwise it would simply have been far too long. Therefore the following attributes:
- The app must be available for Android and iPhone.
- It must be free. At least for the most important features.
- It must primarily be designed for the Swiss Alps.
- Added value for (winter) mountain sports is a must.
- It must be professionally operated and maintained.
- Banal apps such as a flashlight, which are also integrated in most modern devices anyway, are not taken into account.
Another point is availability. Despite all the digitization, a smartphone is only useful if the technology works. Dead spots, lost connection to GPS satellites or even an empty battery - in such situations, even the most sophisticated apps are of no help. Therefore: Backup. An extra paper map, pocket compass and radio can not only save trouble, but save lives. In addition, what is available offline is always available. And in groups, colleagues should also have valuable data saved on their devices. But now to our highlights.
These apps should not be missing on any smartphone:
It can never be safe enough. If you only install one app from this list, it should be the Rega app. The principle is very simple: In an emergency, you open the app and you can immediately set off an alarm on the start page. The app even works with poor reception and abroad. You will be connected to the Rega Operations Center and your location will be transmitted at the same time. Helpful additional information such as the battery level of your mobile phone or your language, if stored, can also be viewed by the Rega management. There are also useful additional options such as emergency contacts. Otherwise the app is sober and pragmatic, it offers what it needs to offer. That is extremely efficient.
The official app of the Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF. The app contains current avalanche bulletins and snow information, an exciting knowledge database with a slope inclinometer, a tool for the reduction method and more. The tour area with extensive, worldwide map material is also interesting. However, this is only available in the license model.
The Swiss map in pocket size - with a concentrated load of information. There's hardly anything the app can't display. There is a separate map layout in white for mountain sports in winter, which can be used to show slopes from 30 degrees or more, for example, or wildlife sanctuary zones. A repertoire of ski and snowshoe tours is available, as is the network of mountain railways. Practical: The official Switzerland Mobile routes are also already integrated and there is also a panorama mode for recognizing mountain peaks. Alternatives for the latter would be your own Switzerland mobile app or peak finder.
The app of the Swiss Alpine Club. The basis is the map material from Swisstopo. However, it gets interesting with the tour suggestions and the SAC huts, all of which are housed in the app (partly only for members). This makes the app the ideal planning tool.
A mapping tool primarily based on the mountaineering community. Here you will find thousands of tour suggestions with height and time information, difficulty, personal assessment and, above all, GPS downloads.
Another app for maps. This one trumps, however, especially abroad. The reason for this is that all material can be easily and cleanly made available offline with just a few clicks.
A weather app developed at the University of Basel. Very accurate, extensive and, despite everything, easy to use. A very interesting feature is called Where2Go. A map shows where the most sun can be expected in the near future - and that to within a few meters.
Another weather app. Subjectively, it is beaten by Meteoblue in terms of scope and accuracy, but the integrated precipitation radar is extremely precise. Especially useful on the mountain to be able to assess whether the rain cloud will only be a short shower or a full-fledged storm.
It's all about the wind here. Even if the primary target audience is not primarily ski tourers, the app can definitely be an advantage for getting a detailed picture of snow transport and the like.
Not a mountain sports app per se and certainly not specifically for winter sports, but indispensable in times of data recording and GPS tracking: Strava collects your performance and offers you efficient, data-based training support if you use it correctly. The advantage: Garmin, Suunto, Polar and Co. operate closed platforms with similar features, but data from all devices is integrated on Strava.
That might interest you
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About Bächli mountain sports
Bächli mountain sports is the leading Swiss specialist shop for climbing, mountaineering, expeditions, hiking, ski touring and snowshoeing. At currently 13 locations in Switzerland, Bächli Bergsport offers its customers expert advice and high-quality service. Published on LACRUX Bächli mountain sports periodically exciting contributions to the topics climbing, bouldering and mountaineering.
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Credits: Cover picture Paula Lavalle, text Bächli mountain sports