Safety is always a big concern when exploring the wilderness, and finding up-to-date reports on trail conditions can be difficult, to say the least. The newly relaunched Mountain Conditions Report (MCR) website and app, however, provide exactly that.
MCR is a free public platform for professional guides to share relevant information on. It was founded in partnership with the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) and has been around for decades. Originally, the service existed as an email-based system for guides to send information between other guides, but MCR has recently relaunched in an effort to broaden its reach to the general public.
The idea to go public had been growing for a while, but it was George Weetman who approached the ACMG about the app and website. MCR is a map-based tool that provides detailed information about routes, conditions, recommendations, and more for skiing, climbing, and hiking. All the information is gathered and posted by professional guides in the area. If there are any incident reports, wildlife alerts, or avalanche conditions. MCR is the place to find them.
To help move MCR from an email list to a working application, Arc’teryx provided the platform and created the app. With it up and running, it’s now up to local guides to fill it with up-to-date information. We spoke with their Global Community Marketing Director, John Irvine, about getting the word out.
“We have worked hard with the ACMG and the AMGA (American Mountain Guides Association) to inspire guides to more frequently use the tools and share info. for North America,” Irvine told Digital Trends.
Arc’teryx made sure the project didn’t start with an empty website, either. The firm had been working on it for about three years before the soft launch in February 2016. “Really the tools have been available for one year, and we purposely did not market the tools because we wanted to beta test it and figure out any bugs via this soft launch. Now in our second year, we are at present working to get more guides posting and broaden the geographic pull for info,” continued Irvine. “We have definitely noticed an increase in posts and app downloads in the last month with the public launch. Hopefully, this is sustained and the number of posts and geographic reach of the guides posting will continue to improve.”
Each guide has the ability to upload their information and a picture if they choose to do so. Pictures have been used in creative ways already. For instance, on some of the incident reports, guides have mapped out what happened to better inform the general public. “Some guides are great about posting every day they get out and based on changing conditions,” says Irvine. “In the area where I live I would say we get about a post a day or a post every 2-3 days.”
Currently, the MCR app focuses mainly on North America, but this will change in the future. Arc’teryx is working with the British Mountain Guides to get more European guiding associations promoting public safety through the app and website.
Feedback from the public has been mostly positive since the relaunch. “The guides have been getting great feedback and mostly thanks from recreationists,” said Irvine. “The guides are motivated to support public safety and this is highly appreciated by recreational users.” As far as the app itself, Arc’teryx meets regularly with the ACMG and AMGA to get feedback and improve. For example, right now their focus is on enhancing the filter capabilities by time and geography. Other improvements would allow guides to see views or receive thumbs up from the public.
“We will always work to improve and further evolve the app and website,” concludes Irvine. “We want it to be a valued and appreciated venue for creating public safety knowledge.”
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