Wyoming Arts Council

The Alpinist Film Festival took place each January in Jackson for seven years.

But not in 2009. The festival called it quits in October along with its magazine. We didn’t carry the news then, but now feel obliged because January is right aorund the corner and this blog covered it extensively in January 2008.

Here’s a farewell statement from AFF Director Christian Beckwith:

It is with sadness that we announce that Alpinist has closed its doors.

We began Alpinist almost seven years ago in a moment of serendipity. What would it be like, we wondered, to create the magazine of our dreams? Twenty-six issues later (if you count Issue 0, which we do, and notwithstanding Issue 13, which we skipped — sorry about that) we close with heartache, but not without a sense of accomplishment. The critical acknowledgement was welcome: three Maggie Awards, for Best Overall Design, Best Quarterly and Best E-Newsletter; Print magazine’s Regional Design award; a seven-page article in Outside magazine, “The Purists,” about our effect on American climbing. But more important were you, our community of readers, contributors and advertisers. Sometimes we felt this significance in letters you would write; other times, in chance encounters at the City of Rocks, in Squamish parking lots, in Hyalite, on routes here in the Tetons, we felt it when you approached us and expressed your gratitude, your enthusiasm, your stoke. We folded because there weren’t enough of you, but for our nearly 9,000 subscribers, and the countless other readers who picked us up on newsstands and passed us along to their friends, we spent hours, days, weeks, getting everything between our covers just right. We fought to publish Voytek Kurtyka’s “Losar,” Barry Blanchard’s “A Climber’s Tale,” Colin Haley’s “Going Square,” Tommy Caldwell’s “El Capitan.” It was an honor to reproduce Giulio Malfer’s photographs of climbing’s luminaries: from Andrej Stremfelj in Issue 1 to Jonny Woodward in Issue 20, we showcased some of the great climbers of our time. The artwork of Jeremy Collins, Tami Knight, Sean McCabe, Andreas Schmidt; the photographs of Thomas Ulrich, Glen Denny, Monique Dalmasso, Jonathan Scurlock, Andrew Burr: we included all of them according to the William Morris dictum, “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” For six and a half years, Alpinist was our house, you were our guests, and we strove to have nothing in our pages that did not fit Morris’ exhortation. When you came up to us and thanked us, we knew you believed so too.

One more metaphor. Alpinist was not a standard route to magazine publishing. It was a new route: a subscriber-based publication, big and bold and beautiful. In 1979, as George Lowe described in Issue 15, he and four partners climbed more than 100 pitches on the north ridge of Latok I only to descend short of the top when one of his partners became ill. Though they failed to reach the summit, Lowe calls it his best climb. Alpinist was our Latok, and you were our partners. This was our best climb. Thanks for joining us on the adventure.
Good luck and good hunting,
Christian Beckwith and the folks at Alpinist

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