About 5 minutes in, I realise I am not bored to tears or insulted, a common occurance with a lot of climbing mags. The front cover's a refreshing belter for a start - not your usual semi-erotic barenaked lady designed to catch the hormonal teenagers eye, but a series of fully-clothed action shots of Lisa Rands doing the moves on some crimpy arete. Great! this issue "Hot chicks who climb" is obviously gonna take us womenfolk seriously?
Onwards and inwards and Up close and Personal with Lisa. Some real good pics and a refreshingly honest, barebones interview. She may be V10+'ing it left right and centre but she's as down to earth as you get.
More women and more women bouldering! Not all-american super heroines either! Brief but insightful comments from those doing V3 to V9 with more shots of them doing their stuff - oh and what stuff! A particularily fine shot of a Miss Whitney Hoose demonstrates why women are a force to be reckoned with in the bouldering world.
So far so good - I'm impressed! And bless them, they've even given us girls something to look at in the middle! Need somewhere to disappear to this winter? Escape from the rain and the wind? Look no further! Take your pic from Bishop, Yosemite, Oak Flats, Joshua Tree, Mecca - oh, the list goes on. Everything you need to know to make that crucial decision, from type of problems to a tick list to camping sites to URLs for more detailed info. Where's my credit card?
My favourite bit of the whole mag comes near the back: Ron Kauk with a little seven-year-old boulderer, Neesa Ludington. Don't think I have ever come across so much attitude in such a small package! Not a girl to be messed with and, with her doing V3's now, probably a name to watch out for in future. You know what I like about this magazine? It's a PEOPLE'S mag - it's about people, about us ordinary boulderers with ordinary lives. Yeah, it's got the 'superstar' aspect too, but even that's dealt with from a people perspective. And for European readers, don't worry - it's not all 'yo send it dude', it's like having an old mate round for tea. I like the mag, I like it a lot - and if it continues to be as realistic but still inspiring, as this issue, I bet a lot of you will be liking it too!