The historic downtown Boulder Theater became party-central for about 500 Front Range climbers Jan. 10. As a way of saying thanks to readers, Alpinist magazine sponsored its second annual Subscriber Party; the first was held last winter in hometown Jackson Hole, Wyo. Admission was free to subscribers and $10 for those who read their friend's copies.
The upstart quarterly with powerful writing, stunning photography, low ad content and to-die-for production values (great paper and excellent photo reproduction) will release its sixth issue in time for the upcoming Outdoor Retailer Winter Market.
Boulder was chosen for the most recent location in a planned series of moving parties due to the high concentration of climbing fanatics willing to pay $13 for a magazine. Neptune Mountaineering, an event co-sponsor, sells over 100 copies of each issue -- a national record. Next year, North Conway, N.H., will bring the Northeast climbing community together for a celebration.
The event kicked off with a long-winded soliloquy by Editor Christian Beckwith (proving once again that even editors need editing). Michael Kennedy, former owner of Climbing magazine, then reflected on his impressive climbing career with a slide show of highlights. Brit Andy Kirkpatrick then stole the show with his hilarious presentation on why alpine climbing is indeed stupidâ€¦and addictive. Following that tough act, photographer Jimmy Chin wisely elected to let his slides speak for themselves.
Once the slide shows were out of the way, the real party kicked in with a funk band imported from Jackson Hole that rocked the house until well after midnight. As if more evidence were needed that climbing is still a male-dominated sport, the line to the men's bathroom was five times longer than the one to the women's.
SNEWS View: Though it's questionable if Alpinist will prove fiscally viable -- a year's subscription costs as much as a decent cam or ice screw -- Alpinist is currently the only climbing magazine with a soul not influenced by advertising. Essentially the Surfer's Journal for the vertical world, it brings readers a much-needed higher art form, without heavy commercialism and hyperbole. This is something to enjoy, and support, while it lasts.