Alpinist Magazine Set to Rise From The Ashes

by Jack Geldard - Editor - UKC Jan/2009
This news story has been read 27,753 times

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+Sean Isaac and Erik Lambert beneath the Castleton Tower, 183 kb
Erik Lambert (Alpinist Magazine), Sean Isaac (Canadian Alpine Journal)
Height of Land Publications (HOL), owners of Backcountry and Telemark Skier Magazines, have finalised a deal that lays the groundwork for the resurrection of Alpinist Magazine.

Alpinist closed its doors last November, just prior to the release of Issue 26. The new owners, HOL, plan to release Issue 26 on March 1, and have stated that they will honour all current subscriptions.

"Alpinist fits perfectly into our family," says HOL president and publisher Jon Howard. "We feel climbers, mountaineers, and backcountry and freeheel skiers all share the same DNA. It's, at times, about being bold; at times about being cautious. Kind of like how we do business."

Jon and HOL partner and Backcountry editor Adam "Howie” Howard are currently in negotiations with the editorial staff at Alpinist to determine who will be at the helm.

"We've asked Christian Beckwith to stay on as Editor," Adam says. "I reached him in Mexico where he's doing some non-profit work. After seven years of grinding, he's enjoying some relative downtime. But he's genuinely excited that we're carrying his creation forward. We'll be meeting in person in the next few weeks. Should he not come on full time, Alpinist readers can be assured that someone of comparable skills and pedigree will fill his shoes."

Their plan is to keep the magazine size and paper quality to the same high standard.

"We want to honour what the Alpinist team has done," Jon says. "It's a piece of art. And we plan keep it that way."

The interplay and roles of the climbing media were really hammered home to me in a recent international meeting of climbing editors in the USA. Meeting and climbing with the staff of Alpinist, Desnivel, and many other publications, I became acutely aware that each media fills a very individual role.

The American Alpine Journal (AAJ) and, to a smaller extent, the British Alpine Journal, do a fantastic job of maintaining the historical record of world mountaineering, but after the sudden announcement of the closure of Alpinist, I wondered who would take over in bringing that information to climbers on a more regular basis? The Alpinist website was kept up to date by the tireless efforts of Erik Lambert, and with his work gone, an information gap could occur.

Step in Mr Mountain Info himself, Lindsay Griffin. Lindsay is a walking mountain encyclopaedia, well known for his guidebook work and of course the monthly feature in Climb Magazine - Mountain Info. Lindsay has taken a role with the BMC, keeping their website hot with news of world class mountaineering ascents.

Alex Messenger of the BMC commented: "Hopefully Lindsay is a permanent thing. We've signed him up to write detailed news items to build up a reliable source of mountaineering news."

In the UK, guidebooks, magazines and websites do a great job of keeping the historical record of our rock climbing up to date. We have a wealth of information, literally at our finger-tips. The load is shared between various types of media. No magazine or website takes on the responsibility of being a comprehensive record of all activity, but between us all, we seem to do okay. But what if one of us were to close?

Climber Magazine have just announced that they are looking for a new editor (UKC News Item), which shows how quickly things can change in the climbing media world. So while we at UKClimbing.com are looking forward to the return of Alpinist, we are also aware that in the current economic climate, anything could happen. We wish them the best of luck.


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