So what happened in Europe that made me expand my horizons? What was it that made me realise that this idea had room for growth, room to become something bigger and more exciting than a little self-published project?
Well the first thing that struck me on my arrival into Europe was the sheer scale of the climbing culture. Spending Easter weekend in the forest of Fontainebleau opened my eyes to the huge number of people getting out on the rock in Europe. I was lucky enough to meet my friend Nalle at the end of my first day on French soil and tagged along with him and the Black Diamond crew who were in town for a weekend clean up initiative.
To get their message across they were heading to reasonably sized areas and meeting the climbers in the carparks, explaining the environmental issues climbing was facing and promoting conservation of the climbing areas. The guys assured me we weren’t in the busiest areas and that the numbers were down due to the unusually cold Easter but the crowds blew me away regardless. Climbing was big, much bigger than I could imagine coming from the global backwater of New Zealand (via Australia).
Reinforcing this was the second weekend I spent in France. Heading south to the beautiful town of Millau in the French Pyrenees for the first round of the 2013 IFSC Bouldering World Cup circuit to be held on European soil for the year I was blown away by the scale of the event, the level of interest and once again the crowds. Although again I was assured by those in the know that the crowd was small compared to what could be expected once we got to some of the later rounds.
The second thing that struck me was the attention the idea got from climbers and those involved in the sport. Straight off the bat there was interest in the idea and people wanted to know when the magazine would be out, where they could get a copy etc. This made me realise that my original idea of doing a couple of hundred units would be like a drop in the ocean.
People wanted to know the same things I wanted to know and there was the opportunity to use the platform of a magazine to share with that information, the photos and the memories with those people.
So the idea grew. A low run, high quality print run to share with the world. A coffee table quality publication that people could refer back to in the future, to capture that moment in time and keep as a memento of where the climbing world was in 2013 and beyond.
And this brings me to the last question that people have been asking. Why print? Why in this digital age am I wanting to go to print instead of online? Well the answer to that is simple enough but starts with a question. How often do you go to a climbing gym and there’s a pile of old climbing magazines there to keep climbers psyched between burns… How many of you (and I hope there’s a few) remember the legendary Heinz Zak book Rockstars? A book that still sits by the bouldering wall at my local gym. To me magazines can be more than a disposable medium, more than just a collection of pretty photos and good writing.
To me digital magazines are the most disposable of all, and although there will possibly be a digital edition of The Circuit following the print edition this is purely for the convenience of readers. The Circuit will be a print magazine and my dream is that it will sit on the shelves of climbers for many years to come, and that will never come to pass it is simply a file on the internet or a hard drive somewhere. I hope that one day maybe a climber will be picking up a copy of The Circuit to get that extra bit of motivation mid-session and wondering what ever happened to those old climbers from 2013…
Coming next: Who are we? Building a team to realise the dream.