After being stuck in Squamish for 12 days waiting on the arrival of The Circuit Climbing Magazine, I passed through US inspection point and drove from Vancouver, British Columbia to Los Angeles, California. On the way south, I stopped at Seattle, Portland, Medford, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, Sunnyvale, San Louis Obispo, all the way down to Sender One.
At every gym I visited, I dropped off a copy of The Circuit World Cup and Performance Magazine, with an extra if the gym worked with philanthropic programs. Why? I believed it would help the climbing industry.
The magazine has no ads. The closest thing to an ad is on the back: Climbers Against Cancer. Every issue sold marks $1 donated to the cancer research funds chosen by CAC John Ellison, the organization’s founder – a man from a little town in the UK.
The only copy is informative interviews from IFSC’s key coaches and athletes. World Cup coach Udo Neumann has experience in performance bouldering inside, outside, and with other athletes; his interview is the first piece of writing when I open the magazine to show people the contents. Seasoned rock climbing competitors Jan Hojer and Juliane Wurm have also proven to be extraordinary athletes, and in The Circuit talk freely with their charming interviewers. On the topic of visuals, the dynamic depictions from editor Eddie and contributor Bram ring iconic of the IFSC climbing world series.
The reason I see this magazine as a beneficial addition to the US is that the magazine’s European climbers are professionals by trade. The American industry can learn from their examples as marketed role models, emblematic of the passion of climbers in the US, and able to inspire stronger sustainable communities and ethics in branding for climbing companies similar to their sponsors.
These athletes are backed by their governments, tutored by seasoned mentors, and their experience is far more attainable and comprehensible in The Circuit than in the field of competition, where they are in the zone and shy of the spotlight. Athletes such as Juliane Wurm, Shauna Coxsey, and Mina Markovic are turning into remarkable female rolemodels in the climbing industry that we are able to put alongside Sasha DiGiulian and Lynn Hill.
I began talking with the The Circuit’s editor Eddie Fowke for work and was drawn to his inspired looking-glass of the professional climbing scene by his somber hilarity and easy-going Kiwi personality. With his father’s health failing near the magazine’s completion, I was further inspired when Eddie joined the magazine to ClimbersAgainstCancer, and it seemed that at the point of his dad’s passing, The Circuit became an object closer to his heart.
Hearing from Eddie the magazine would arrive on a crate in Canada, I started making my way up north towards British Columbia. I visited my parents, taught clinics in Portland, and took WallE up the Pacific Coast through the redwoods, taking in the sea air, bombing around the damp and windy cliff roads, and snapping pictures of the restless Pacific Ocean. I knew visiting British Columbia would be worth days of driving because Squamish is not only an amazing area. Whether The Circuit is in a crate in Canada or on a counter in San Francisco, it is something of quality, something that looks like the sophisticated Utah Bouldering Guidebook, something that promises only to blossom once a year after the triumphs and feats of a season of World Cups, and something will not be just another free climbing magazine: The Circuit would be something worth picking up.
* A comical word in about the US inspection point.
Upon entering the US from the north, the crossing into the USA is set up to be a terrifying experience. Contrary to a friendly greeting into the land of 100% pure maple syrup and delicious poutine by a polite, questioning, and orderly Canadian, the cameras pointed north were were aimed like rifles and the station clamped on my heart a feeling of unwelcome and authority. A voice from the station’s chair read my van’s fact’s and trailed off, asked a few questions, and sent me on to have my van inspected. Emptying WallE of his bag of mandarins, and some asparagus, I opened the vehicle’s side door, nervous and waiting. My bed was half on top of an entire crate of boxes, perhaps 40 or so, and the boxes of the magazine conspicuously spilled out onto the thin wooden floor like a handful of skittles from a candy vending machine. A muscled inspections officer pushed his way from the inspections building and took slow and measured steps towards WallE, covering 50 feet in three times as much time as was really practical for a man who looked ready to survive a zombie apocalypse. Out of nervousness and some impatience I began talking before the officer broke ten steps, and he continued his slow movements, surprising me by getting comfortable in my personal space, asking unexpectedly polite questions. “May I sit on this? Is it stable?” When I felt too nervous to keep babbling, and had stopped, after a little bit of silence the officer asked, “Are you dropping this off at Vertical World?” My heart soared. I left inspections relieved, and ecstatic to drop off a free issue at Vertical world with Alex Fritz and Tyson Schoene.