Hello, Again

Climbing - - APPROACH -

“LET’S TALK ABOUT THIS YEAR,” read a cryptic email from Julie Ellison, then the edi­tor of Climb­ing. It was Jan­uary. Bit­ter winds blew off the Con­ti­nen­tal Di­vide west of Boul­der, Colorado, and I fig­ured this was it: I was be­ing canned. I’d been split­ting my time copy­edit­ing be­tween Yoga Jour­nal and Climb­ing, hang­ing on by a fi­nan­cial thread as I strug­gled to keep our fam­ily of four housed and fed, won­der­ing if a hus­band and wife, two boys, cat, and a dog could all live in a re­frig­er­a­tor box, and which un­der­pass had the best hobo fights.

“I’m leav­ing,” Julie said, as we sat in her of­fice. “I want to hit the road and get back to writ­ing and shoot­ing. I think you’d do a great job as edi­tor.” I’d held the job from 2007 to 2010; seven years off is a long “rest day,” but per­haps I could shoe up and give it an­other burn. Julie is now our edi­tor at large, pro­vid­ing killer con­tent as she has been for years. And, it seems, I’m edi­tor again. So here we go.

As much as the land­scape has stayed the same in the past seven years—climb­ing, af­ter all, is still climb­ing—it’s also shifted and grown. The sport is big­ger, bolder, more self-aware, and more in­clu­sive. Great things are hap­pen­ing. Women are now climb­ing con­sen­sus 5.15 (did any­one other than misog­y­nist In­ter­net trolls doubt this would hap­pen?)—turn to page 31 to learn about Margo Hayes’s road to La Ram­bla. Peo­ple of all eth­nic­i­ties and back­grounds are tak­ing their right­ful place at the ta­ble in a sport that, with struc­tural and eco­nomic bar­ri­ers to en­try, has for too long been pri­mar­ily the play­ground of up­per-mid­dle-class white peo­ple—see page 20 for Julie’s piece on Latino Out­doors. The Ac­cess Fund and lo­cal climber or­ga­ni­za­tions are more cre­ative and proac­tive than ever in form­ing part­ner­ships with land man­agers and non­climb­ing lo­cals to pro­tect and pro­mote our crags—see page 22 for Carolyn Web­ber’s piece on ex­cit­ing de­vel­op­ments at Joe’s Val­ley, Utah. And, on a tougher note, one of our sport’s great­est leg­ends, Royal Rob­bins, has passed away (see page 12).

I’m psyched to be back at Climb­ing again. It’s a new era, one of big num­bers, big gyms, big crowds, and Big In­ter­net, but the need for great sto­ry­telling about and im­agery of our sport re­mains. That, in the un­pre­dictable mael­strom we call life, might be the only con­stant. MATT SAMET, EDI­TOR


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