The Climbing Zine is proud to announce that Volume 18 is off the printer and will be arriving to subscribers shortly.
The issue was delayed due to the COVID virus, and we are excited for everyone to start reading it. Here’s the list of stories in the new issue:
Dear Aid Climbing by Cristina Marcalow
Brad Gobright: Pure of Heart by Lucas Roman
Navajo Rising by Aaron Mike
Hypoxic Dreams by Vic Zeilman
For Vedauwoo by Birch Malotky
Grateful Hussle by Luke Mehall
On Shooshing by Ana Ally
Letter to The Zine by Ken Turley
Here’s a look at the introduction from yours truly, Luke Mehall.
Banner photo of the late Brad Gobright by Hobo Greg
The introduction (written before the COVID outbreak shut down the United States):
“There is no right or wrong
Only a song
I like to write alone
Be in my zone”
Welcome to The Climbing Zine Volume 18. I’m writing this on a gray-bird day here in Durango, Colorado, while recovering from an early season trip to Indian Creek. My hands have gobies, and I’m sore from head to toe—exactly how I want a Monday to start.
I am the most content while writing in this state. Like many of us, I need to climb. I am a better person with climbing in my life; if I don’t regularly exercise and climb, I simply don’t feel like myself.
For twenty years, that need to climb has guided me. Sometimes it’s been healthy, and other times it’s bordered on an unhealthy obsession. Climbing is often life and death, and the right state of mind is just as essential as being fit and having the technical skills. Here at The Zine, we try to document the good, the bad, and the ugly. Life is messy, and climbing can be as well. It sure does make for damn good storytelling, and after ten years of creating this zine, I still get excited about every piece that we publish. It’s a pleasure to work hand in hand with these writers, and I’m constantly reminded the potential for storytelling is abundant and infinite within the realm of climbing.
Storytelling via the lens of climbing is one of the main things that keeps me from becoming a pessimist. Sure, we are living in troubled times, and we’re in the midst of an ecological crisis, but from my experiences with climbing and reading climbing stories, these moments are the ones when one must rise to the occasion. Some may say the sky is falling, but when we’re on a wall, we can look to that sky and see it for ourselves.
Something else that climbing reminds me of is the need to disconnect from technology. Like many of you reading this, I spend a lot of time online during the week. I constantly post on social media, and I’m always connected. Yet the best days of my life are when I’m out in nature and offline. That resets my brain and also makes me more connected to my true source: Mother Nature. Having that balance between being outside and creating inside is essential to me as a writer and publisher. Social media has been crucial to growing The Zine, but as with all forms of technology, it’s important to know when to disconnect.
Having said that, in 2020, we are aiming to publish the stories of The Zine and Benighted Publications on more platforms than ever. Later this year, we’ll be launching the Dirtbag State of Mind podcast, as well as releasing The Climbing Zine Book. We’re also hard at work creating more films, which end up on the film-festival circuit and also online at our YouTube channel and various other platforms. While I’ll always be in love with reading in print, I know each and every person consumes storytelling in a different way, and we want to cater to each reader’s hunger for climbing stories.
As I close out every introduction, the best way to support The Climbing Zine is to subscribe. We are also always looking for stories, and you are welcome to pitch your story to my email address below. We are also introducing a new column—“Letter to The Zine”—where we’ll publish a short letter from a reader. This was inspired by a letter we received from Ken Turley, who came across a copy of Volume 16 in a gym in Missoula and was surprised to see an article about his old climbing partner Ray Olson by Roy McClenahan. If you have a letter, please feel free to send it to my email below and include “Letter to The Zine” in the subject.
I also have one last manner of business: in Volume 17, we had a long caption for the cover photo and left out the photographer credit. Sagar Gondalia took that photo. Sagar has been incredibly generous while working with us, and this was actually his second cover photo. He also took the photo on the cover of Volume 13. We have already personally apologized to Sagar but wanted to make sure we did so here as well because we are so grateful for his photographs. Thanks, brother!
I hope you all enjoy this zine as much as we enjoyed putting it together.
About us: The Climbing Zine was started in 2010 by Al Smith III and Luke Mehall. It continues to the day with the mission of representing the true essence of climbing. Our crown jewel is our printed version, but we also do the interweb thing, and Kindle.
We have also published six books: The Desert, Graduating From College Me, American Climber, The Great American Dirtbags , Climbing Out of Bed, and Squeak Goes Climbing In Yosemite National Park (a climbing children’s book) .