On process

By Gus

CLIMBERS issue #3 was something else entirely. Some of the stories put forward felt particularly raw, and in some cases confronting. The process was different in every way, creatively, in format, content, and even how it fit in between the sandwich bread of Noa and I’s lives.

I personally had a lot going on professionally and emotionally over 2023, but before this, at the end of 2022, Noa and I had set out to get stuck in on the next round, ideas aplenty, froth spilling and unsolicited creativity felt like bubbles spontaneously popping in the fuzzy afterglow from issue #2. It was all happening.

For reasons I won’t go into, a bit of a steamtrain rolled over me soon after. For a while into the new year (2023) I didn’t even know if I could contemplate climbing at all - climbing-related content included.

When I eventually found some grip on the previous reluctance I felt, the proj well spring slowly began filling up again, though I was admittedly in a place where energy was sparring - butter scraped over too much bread.
Where am I going with this? Process right? Some of what was submitted to us last year and in 2023 for issue #3 explores some powerful terrain, some things that have the ability to rattle, or stir that inner contemplation a bit more than you’d stir your midweek pumpkin soup.
There were times when I’d finish work late, make a tea, sit down to pour over some of the submissions and at first, in all raw honesty, I found it hard to give in to the gravity some of these stories carried, some of the depth, some of the subjects - to be fair, accidentally squashing an ant at that point would have been enough let alone sifting other climbers’ poignant sentiments!

But then one night I spoke to Noa on the phone and something really cool happened. Somewhere in my mind, this little light bulb flickered on (conformation my brain does work) and I realised that whatever we had done, whatever concept around CLIMBERS had been impressed upon others, it had meant that for some reason people out there felt they could bring this ‘stuff’ forward, risk being seen, were comfortable to share things that really meant a lot more to them than sending the next best route. Whatever this project was/is, it had meant that people were bringing their best selves forward, and were willing to do so through this publication and by relationship with the community. This really hit me - like I had to sit down and have a beer hit me.

All of a sudden those weightier pieces felt like celebrations, like a peace you find when you take the armour off. This is where the engine started humming again for me, the process cogs clunking over with Noa and where issue #3 had left CLIMBERS station and became inevitably bound for the printers. The energy found home again.

Late-night edits, Sunday morning coffee binges and readings, long overdue emails to contributors and interview transcriptions. Discussions focussed on how we could present these stories in the most truthful manner and in a way that not only respected these climbers' voices, but gave insight into an undercurrent of the climbing community we each feel is rarely given space.

I’ve often thought that the effect we have on others is the most valuable currency we have, and in the process of sitting with these stories and gently pushing them into a frame with Noa, I want to thank those contributors for their impact on me, and what I hope is some (even if small) impact on the rest of the community who unknowingly pick them up to turn them over.

Cheers ya filthy animals.


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