You are right. There are plenty of free communities online, including Facebook groups. As long as you are ok with them selling your data to advertisers and bombarding you with ads, they are a good option. Ah, and don't forget about the people who join those groups to advertise their tours, gear, and blogs.
In a paid-community, it's all about quality. Summit is a secure place that is moderated by our team of experienced adventurers. We take your privacy seriously, we don't sell your data to advertisers, and it's an ad-free platform. You get the guidance and support you need, and you meet people just like you, who are getting started in outdoor activities and see the value of a quality curated community.