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Irreverent Climbing Newspaper Celebrates 20th Anniversary

The older, though perhaps not wiser, staff of Boulder Climbing Weakly, a satirical climbing newspaper started in Boulder, Colorado 20 years ago, recently had a reunion to celebrate the publication's 20th anniversary.

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Twenty years ago, three groups of climbers joined together to watch each other try to make the crux move on a route at one of Boulder, Colorado’s more moderate climbing locales—the Amphitheater. Try as they might, not one of this motley crew was able to make the move. Up sauntered the most obnoxious of the climbers, who eventually assumed the bastardized name  “Leonard Skynyrd.” Edging towards the crux, he shouted down, “If I make this move, you all have to agree to help me publish a climbing magazine for weaker climbers like us.” Upon obtaining everyone’s consent, Skynyrd (surprisingly) sent the route, and Boulder Climbing Weakly was born.

The older, though perhaps not wiser, staff of Boulder Climbing Weakly, a satirical climbing newspaper published in Boulder, Colorado, 20 years ago. Photo: Adam “Lettuce Leaf” Chase.

During its two-year lifespan, Boulder Climbing Weakly poked fun at climbing and climbers. Issues included pictures of “fashion-show climbing” in high heels, and a t-shirt giveaway for those who claimed to climb Boulder’s five great peaks (Green, Bear, South Boulder, Sanitas, and Haystack). It ran irreverent interviews of national great Royal Robbins (none too please that he was asked about sex on the rock), and local legends Steve Hong and Jeff Lowe. Butt crack jokes were plentiful, with one issue featuring a front page photo of the “Naked Third” (for the Third Flatiron) full-moon staff climb. Many of the articles were satirical. For example, the writer known as the “Climbing Widow” penned a piece likening  climbing to Japanese foot binding and BDSM scenes. Other articles provided serious gear reviews (written by Adam “Lettuce Leaf” Chase), climbing tips, and climbing area assessments.

Eventually, seven colorful issues were printed, with local climbing shops and equipment suppliers submitting advertising that allowed the rag to break even. Volunteers placed issues in climbers’ haunts, and stuck them under windshield wipers at local climbing areas.

On March 17, 2018, a group of past editors and writers from Boulder Climbing Weakly gathered with friends for a anniversary celebration at the Spot Bouldering Gym. The Spot Proprietor Dan Howley, who was in charge of Boulder Climbing Weakly’s layout design those 20 years ago, donated his gym  space for the event. The Editor Dustin Baly and his children flew in from San Diego to attend. The Publisher Leonard Skynyrd (local lawyer Randall Weiner) officiated.

Although they had all grown older, they apparently had not gotten wiser.


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