Most of you Rock and Ice readers probably did a double take when you saw this edition with two covers, one flying the colors of Rock and Ice, and the other with Climbing magazine’s flag.
The dual covers aren’t the result of industrial sabotage, nor a diabolical plot to bend your mind—Rock and Ice and Climbing have merged as Big Stone Publishing was acquired by Pocket Outdoor Media. Rivals for 36 years, the two publications are now one. The intertwining will let us publish a magazine that—we hope—is a grade better than anything each could do separately.
The new publication, which will be called Climbing beginning in the spring of 2021, is supported by the editorial staffs of both magazines, who bring with them more writers, more photographers, more illustrators. Climbing and Rock and Ice together are collectively stronger. Think of it as having a partner to help solve an elusive crux, rather than trying to unlock it by yourself. Witness this issue: 102 pages instead of our usual 76, six features instead of four. You will see more upgrades and a full makeover in issues to come. The edition you hold was produced with the assistance of Climbing’s editor, Matt Samet. In the new year we will double our online wattage with two digital editors, Michael Levy here at rockandice.com, and Kevin Corrigan from climbing.com. Ascent—our annual compendium of stories and art rendered from the climbing experience, and Gym Climber, our title for indoor climbers, will press full ahead unchanged. In the spring, Rock and Ice subscribers will find the new version of Climbing in their mailboxes.
[Also Read Mountain Project Acquired by onX]
If this seems like a head shaker, know that we’ve been an oddball family, a sort of Hatfields and McCoys, for nearly two decades. Samet is the former editor of Rock and Ice, and several staffers at Rock and Ice first got ink on their fingers at Climbing some three decades ago. Rock and Ice is even published out of the old Climbing building. For a time the two magazines were across the street from one another, and readers and friends would mistakenly call here or drop in thinking this was Climbing. Now, it is.
Both brands share more than musical belays: All of us take climbing’s decades-long literary tradition seriously, fanatically even. We get that words, photos and art, on paper and more and more in digital format, help preserve the climbing culture, provide inspiration and disseminate news and information that make climbing more than just exercise. As editors, writers and designers, we strive to reveal the experience of the vertical in its totality, from the thin air of the Himalaya to the chalky blocks and cliffs near you. Outside the offices we, like you, fall off boulders, trace ice runnels up mountains, get spit off polish at Rifle, jam sore feet into desert splitters, share ledges with rats, run out of water. When we get back we curate stories and report on events and issues that define the climbing experience and provoke discussions.
It’s not that we believe that climbing is the end all. Rather, it’s a piece of the human experience that we can build upon. “Climbing doesn’t make my life meaningful,” writes Tyler Rohr in “Fluid Machine” (page 42). “But climbing might not be meaningless, either. The mountains are more like medicine than anything else; they don’t make you whole, but they can hold you together.”
Being a whole. Working together. That’s our aim.
—the editors, Rock and Ice, Climbing