Urban Climber Closing Up Shop

Urban Climber Closing Up Shop

In the not all that surprising but still at least a little surprising category came this news late Friday afternoon on Urban Climber’s Facebook page:

Urban Climber magazine, which launched in October 2004, has shipped its final issue to the printer.

The August issue, one of our best ever, will be on newsstands and in subscribers’ mailboxes in a couple of weeks. Subscribers will be given the option of receiving Climbing magazine for the rest of their subscription term, or getting a refund. Instructions will be provided with the August issue.

On behalf of everyone ever involved in creating Urban Climber, we’d like to thank you for supporting us. It’s been quite a ride!

Former Urban Climber Editor-in-Chief Justin Roth shed some light on the magazine’s problems in his post about the magazine’s end:

But over the years, the magazine’s budget stayed small when it needed to grow. Contributors who had been happy to offer up words and images on the cheap, as a way to get their foot in the door, eventually found their patience wearing thin. This contributor frustration trickled up into the editor’s psyches, making the job even more stressful than the long hours, short deadlines, and tiny staff. Often, there was just one dedicated editor and one part-time designer editing, writing, and laying out an issue of Urban Climber. Everyone’s idealism began to show cracks under the strain of real-world pressures.  To be fair, UC wasn’t alone in its difficulties — the magazine industry was in deep trouble, thanks to the growing specter of the World Wide Web and its endless stream of free media. But that didn’t make the ride any less bumpy.

The climbing magazine market has felt overcrowded for some time now so it isn’t necessarily surprising to see Urban Climber not make it, but I was a bit surprised by the swift finality in the magazine’s closure.  The Urban Climber website already redirects to Climbing’s website and once the August issue arrives Urban Climber will be a thing of the past.  I guess when the money runs out, the money runs out.

I thought the magazine had its fair share of good moments over the years, but some on Facebook seem to be reveling in the magazine’s demise.  What do you think?  Will one of the other magazines follow suit?  Chime in in the comments with your thoughts.

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18 Responses to Urban Climber Closing Up Shop

  1. Climbing Snob July 2, 2012 at 10:10 am #

    Is The Narc to blame? I think the type of people who read UC are perfectly satisfied reading sites like this one, which happen to be free. UC’s website was a little weak too. Don’t get me wrong the whole thing was pretty creative and it had interesting tid-bits but so does climbingnarc.com and frankly this site has a wider berth of topics to choose from.
    No on seems to be surprised by this development.

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    • Narc July 2, 2012 at 10:47 am #

      I don’t think it helped that their website was weak day-to-day and if you just waited long enough they would post most of the highlights from the magazine on there for free.

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  2. ktmt July 2, 2012 at 10:54 am #

    I was a charter subscriber to Urban Climber in 2004 and I remember the psyche I had over those first issues. UC mag somehow really was different, with a new slant, new content, new angle. I attributed this to the first editor, Matt Burbach, a name that was new to me in climbing and that I’ve not seen again since he left that post. That’s when I felt UC Mag began a slow transformation to becoming just another climbing magazine. It took a few years, but by 2008 I’d lost interest and let my subscription lapse. Ironically, I was just yesterday climbing in a rad Sickle teeshirt with “Urban Climber” emblazoned on the back. I miss *that* version of the magazine, but in hindsight, I think it was already gone by 2006.

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  3. Bryan July 2, 2012 at 11:16 am #

    I am a huge fan and subscriber of UC. I also subscribe to Climbing Magazine, and Rock and Ice. Although climbingnarc and deadpointmag are my daily bread, I love getting my magazines in the mail. The pictures and articles are completely different than online media. I will miss seeing and reading about adventure destinations most, and the training tips as well. Sad to see printed publications taking a dive in a growing climbing industry and community.

    As far as the online media goes, I feel all of the hard magazines are truly lagging behind on the inter-web. I seldom check their websites, although it seems I am constantly on climbingnarc and deadpoint as I mentioned before. I am surprised at the lack of content on the web for these hard mags as it seems to be their imminent future if they hope to survive. I would like to see them bring their content to the internet in a new and creative way, rather than seeing them go by the wayside.

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    • Peter July 2, 2012 at 9:04 pm #

      I felt the same way, but lately, it seems like Rock & Ice has been doing a much better job with their website. Lots of news, but also longer features (like the Will Gadd guest post) that I think are pretty interesting.

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      • Narc July 2, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

        Agreed, although the Gadd piece was just a verbatim repost of something he had posted on his personal site.

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        • Peter July 3, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

          That’s true, although I never would have checked Will Gadd’s blog. Or Ethan Pringle’s, for that matter. It’s nice to have it in one spot.

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          • Peter July 3, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

            Their website still sucks, though.

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  4. Ryan Sheldon July 2, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    I was never a subscriber of UC, but I will say I love the articles in my climbing magazine COMBINED with the articles and awesome daily videos here on the Narc. With the two combined, there is never a dull moment in my month.

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  5. joe July 2, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    I thought that UC had grown into a good magazine. I remember reading some of the first few issues, and they seemed to be trying way to hard to project the ‘urban’ vibe, instead of just trying to appeal to climbers who happened to live in urban areas, and preferred sport/bouldering to ice/alpine. Over the years they seemed to find their voice, and a decent niche for themselves.

    I knew if I wanted to read a long form article about something historical or esoteric, or a mountaineering horror story, UC wasn’t the place. But for short features that would get me interested in checking out a particular spot, with lots of good pics to get me psyched, UC would do the trick.

    Their website was surprisingly bad, though.

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  6. Jimmy July 2, 2012 at 4:01 pm #

    Urban Climber wasnt a bad magazine, but out of the climbing mags that are out there (rock and ice, alpinist, climbing mag) UC was by far the last one I would consider purchasing. The climbing community isnt big enough to support the smaller magazines.

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  7. Dan Brayack July 7, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    I guess I’ll never see that 30 bucks they were suppose to pay me 8 months ago for my photo.

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  8. slabdyno July 9, 2012 at 10:44 pm #

    at $ .03 cents an hour, is it really even worth your time to complain publicly about it?

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    • Yo Chi July 10, 2012 at 10:02 am #

      I don’t know man, $30 can buy like 4-7 burritos (depending on their quality and likelihood to cause bowel irritation). If all that stood between me and several tortillas filled with delicious future indigestion was some mild belly-aching on the internet, well, you can rest assured that I would be typing away.

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    • Dan Brayack July 10, 2012 at 10:26 am #

      Well, if they refused to pay for photos while they were in business, I seriously doubt they’ll pay for photos now that they’ve gone under.

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