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Alpinist Redpoints Cover Misses Onsight

September 9, 2011

The staff has proofread and signed off on the cover for Alpinist 36. Art Director Michael Lorenz opens a file, hot keys “A” to change his cursor into a pointer tool and saves the files as a printable PDF. He uploads the file to the printer and continues work on the three magazines all due within the next forty-eight hours.

September 16, 2011 12:15 p.m.

“[expletive deleted]” – Michael Kennedy, Editor-in-Chief

“[expletive deleted]” – Adam Howard, Editorial Director

“[EXPLETIVE DELETED]” – Michael Kennedy


September 16, 2011 12:16 p.m.

“Jon, how much would it cost to reprint the cover of Alpinist?”- Adam Howard

“Why are you asking?” – Jon Howard, Publisher

What prompted the frantic phone calls between Alpinist’s Editor-in-Chief, Editorial Director and Publisher was the letter A. The cover text of Issue 36, which should have read Ian Parnell Weighs The White Cliffs of Dover had been changed to Ian Parnell Weighs The A Cliffs of Dover. A call to the printers revealed that all the covers for Issue 36 had been printed, with The A Cliffs. Michael Kennedy describes the experience of discovering the typo below.

“I had gotten the final PDFs of the rest of the magazine and was planning on printing everything out and putting together a mock magazine. When I printed out the cover I just about had a stroke when I saw the typo…couldn’t figure out how we’d missed it. I went back to the PDF I’d seen and approved earlier and it was fine.”

When the Art Director had “Hot Keyed” his cursor he had inadvertently added a letter onto magazine’s cover. For about a week (that casually coincided with deadline week) we, the Alpinist employees, held our collective breath. We take pride in the accuracy and professionalism of Alpinist Magazine. Fact checking each article of Alpinist usually involves talking to first ascensionists and correcting errors in guidebooks, and serves as a chance to set the historical record straight. And, we had a typo on the cover of the magazine. A yellow size twelve typo on Alpinist 36’s full page, John Svenson-illustrated cover. For the editorial staff there wasn’t much discussion; the cover had to be reprinted. The publishing and marketing team gently reminded everyone that to shred the old covers and reprint would cost enough for a six month climbing road-trip or an exploratory month in Kyrgyzstan. Anyone following the print industry, or the history of this particular title, knows that print isn’t in the same place financially as say Apple or Exxon.

It wasn’t a hard decision, just a hard truth that we closed our eyes and swallowed. We reprinted the covers. When Alpinist 36 arrives at your door, the cover will be blemish free, as it should be. Some of us wanted to let the matter end there. It was an expensive fiasco, and not something we really needed/wanted to share with you, the reader. But we botched this lead, and we’ll admit it. Now we’re sitting on fifty-two pounds of cosmetically blemished factory seconds of Alpinist 36 coversheets. Since this will never happen again, we thought we’d do something the community can be a part of. (Also anything to make this mistake hurt less would help.) So we’re selling a limited number of Alpinist 36 coversheets. What’s more each member of the Alpinist Editorial staff will personally sign every one of these coversheets. The sheets are straight from the publishing house and feature a double front and back of Alpinist 36’s cover and can be purchased at Alpinist’s online store. Once we’re out of covers we’re forgetting this ever happened AND. NEVER. REPEATING. THIS PROCESS AGAIN. So these truly are a one-time Alpinist experience.


Michael Kennedy, Adam Howard, Jon Howard, Katie Ives, Simon Peterson, Mike Lorenz, Keese Lane, and Gwen Cameron