The first alpine start I've had since summer meant being on the road by 4:30 to catch a 6:10 flight to Salt Lake City and then a bus into town (No M&W expense accounts to cover a taxi). No luggage or hotel meant I walked into the Salt Palace and got in line (the wrong one naturally) and in 15 seconds met Dan Howley from the Spot. Boulder is everywhere at OR. A few minutes later, in another part of the building, I had my badge (working media)and was on my way in.
My primary purpose, after cashing in on the tip from EZ that New Balance was serving Belgian waffles with strawberry topping, was to meet with editors about various writing projects. Most of the time this work gets done via email but usually actual facetime can prove well worth the expense and effort of travel. I had a great conversation with Michael Kennedy, the editor-in-chief at the revived Alpinist. Michael was a founder of Climbing way back in the day and essentially started what we know as modern climbing journalism. His knowledge and perspective are unique and it was a genuinely educational experience.
Literally five minutes after that conversation, an animated and excited Dave Pegg, the man behind Wolverine Publishing, showed me the latest in digitized guidebooks. Very cool stuff and I plan on having an interview with him about this in coming weeks. (Wolverine published the Boulder Canyon book I collaborated on.) I spent a good amount of time after that with Stewart Green at the Falcon Books booth, talking shop and looking at some of his upcoming work. He also talked about his work to help out Layton Kor who is having serious medical issues. Kor is one of the most important figures in American climbing and you can donate to the cause here.
I also talked with Alison Osius at Rock and Ice about article ideas. Although I tend to focus primarily on my work for this blog, Alison's friendly and warm personality may prove persuasive in the end. Couldn't find Andrew Bisharat though.
After that a long talk with The Mountaineers about a book proposal. Katie Rodgers spent a lot of time walking me through the process of publishing from both the author's and publisher's side. Some good stories were told along the way. I left feeling motivated and excited to get it started. More details in time.
And now it it was time to get back to the airport. A short chat with Joe Kinder, the hardest worker in the climbing blog business, as he showed me photos of new crags near Saint George that look good.
So overall impressions? If you're really into gear and want to know what's new, OR is a good place to go. If you want to run into people in the industry that you know or want to know better, it's a good place to go. But in the end it's really about selling products and that environment can be a bit wearying. For me, dropping in and getting out the same day was a good tactic. I'm not the social type and I don't care for parties or other scenes like that. So thanks to those like EZ who made me feel welcome at the Evolv booth and the other reps I talked with along the way. See you back in Boulder