SA Mountain Mag

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SA Mountain Mag

Post by MarkM » Thu Jan 05, 2006 5:26 pm

Okay this is probably going to get people all worked up ect.

I got my December copy of SA Mountain and paged through as usual. The magazine is cool and I realise (the mag as a whole) it's relatively new etc, but the format for the magazine seems is a touch dated. The same format has been rehashed pretty much the whole life of the mag (you can expect to see the same faces in the pics over and over again). I also happened to get my hands on a Blunt magazine. So, what does this have to do with things? Well basically I tried to look at both mags as if I were neither a skater/surfer nor a climber and then try to pick the one I would buy if I were just your average Joe looking for some reading material. With out a doubt I would have bought the Blunt! Everything about the cover screams read me, tear me apart for pics, whereas the SA Mountain cover seemed a touch blah (for want of a better word). Now you can't blame it on lack of potential climbing pics (trad, boulder, sport, aid, whatever) that just make you salavate cos there are loads out there.

Just wanted see what others thought of the mag!

Actually I just created the topic so that people could freely rip into me and not discuss the topic at all so...

...let it begin.
Open hand, open mind...

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Post by Stu » Thu Jan 05, 2006 8:59 pm

But a magazine is aimed at a specific audience, be it climbing or otherwise. You can't just put out something and hope for the best. From what I've heard there is nothing stopping you or anyone from picking up their pen, writing an article and submitting it. What ideas do you have?
Yeah those cover photo's of Trango suck....

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Post by MarkM » Fri Jan 06, 2006 7:32 am

Yeah I suppose you're right and I guess the sport is a lot less mainstream than skating/surfing. It was just something I noticed while on the road.
Open hand, open mind...

G u y

Post by G u y » Fri Jan 06, 2006 8:26 am

I spoke to a non-climbing friend a while back, who says that he buys SA Hillwalker & Bogthrasher because of the quality of the articles!! He must have been talking about AdK's stuff and not my occational drivel.

However, why don't you pass on your list of improvements to Tony - I'm sure that he'd love to hear them.

As an aside - I have much more respect for Blunt after Paul told us what a blunt was... Maybe Tony should rename the Bogthrasher \"Splif\" or \"Dube\"....?

Post by » Fri Jan 06, 2006 9:11 am

or what about \"Fynbos\"


Post by MW » Fri Jan 06, 2006 11:52 am

I tend to agree with u Mark, for a climbing mag it doesnt really leave you hanging on by the edge of your fingertips...The articles are all pretty good, but the same thing, different country..I went up a mountain, I came down, it was great, I went home.

Thats not because thats all climbers know how to write about climbing either...I have read other stuff with a bit more variation.

That said, the gear review section is great! I think for the price the mag is great value - and always enjoy curling up with it in some random corner...If ya really want a glossy nailbiter, then pay the R70+ for some american mag, but then our local mag wont have the chance to improve in the future. For me local is lekker, and I'll borrow imports when my buddies are done with them! (scavenger)

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Post by Grigri » Fri Jan 06, 2006 12:26 pm

I would tend to agree with MarkM, the graphics could definitely be a whole lot more exciting and contemporary. In addition some of the photos are overly sharpened and of poor quality. Worst of all there isnt one single feature on local climbing. (The 'classic routes' section is a regular column not a feature as it is listed as in the index). ADKs article was the only one that stirred anything in me, the rest sound like what they are \"we spent a huge amount of sponsors money going to some lump of stone in a far away country climbed it and came home\". Not exactly rivetting stuff and with blow all relevance to local climbing. I would rather read about how the anchor replacement project was progressing, or what the new developments in the Rocklands area are, which top climbers visited our shores (as opposed to which mediocre ones went to theirs!), What the town of Boven plans to do to safeguard our visits, Hell even what Joe schmo did at topside on the weekend would make better reading than the material presented to us in this latest issue.

A quick search of the photos on this site and others shows immediately just how many good photos there are of our local scene (we live in a beautiful place) and yet we are presented with underexposed out of focus shots of some visitor Ive never heard of, how about an article explaining who he is and what he got up to at rocklands at least? If he's that great send out a photographer to get some decent pics. In that vein why was there no report back on Freds last visit? At least some pics? Perhaps the problem is that the mag just doesnt pay people for their work? Also why is it only 65 pages and yet only comes out 4 times a year? Suggesting that we must pass these comments on to Tony is stupid, any editor worth his salt should be scanning these forums like a hawk, why must we do his job for him? Ok Im ranting but this has been bugging me for a while, Ive been biting my tongue hoping the mag would get up on its feet but it just seems to trolling along.



Post by Gadget » Fri Jan 06, 2006 12:26 pm

MarkM I do think you make some valid points, but I think we need to accept that we are a small climbing community and that the bells and whistles only come when the community (read market) is big enough for people like Tony to invest in the people and time that can produce the flashy mags.

Last time I spoke to them their print run was around 2000 (the readership is assumed to be much more - the figures have probably gone up by now). I think with such a small base to work from, they are doing an excellent job and I am sure it will get even better.

What will help is if we all realise that rather than bitch and moan about the few people and organisations that are actually doing something for us (SA MountainMag, MCSA,, Climbing Gyms, local manufacturers, etc.) that we should support them and grow the sport for the benefit of us all.

Ps. Tony: the subscription renewal is in the post

Post by » Fri Jan 06, 2006 12:34 pm

How about an article on Tinie and Daves freeing of Private Universe, or a closer look at the new bouldering being down by the Smigelkis brothers and E.Estherhuizen? Interviews with these guys??

Dave D

Post by Dave D » Fri Jan 06, 2006 12:38 pm

I must agree with Mark.

As a climbing mag it could do with a bit more spark. I think Tony is trying to keep the Hikers and \"Bogthrashes\" included, so I Guess we compromise.

I think a bit of positive critasisim is good though.
My largest complaint is that the mag only keeps me entertained for about 2 Hours, and I read really slowly.

I am sure as the mag builds momentum it will glosen and thicken up a bit.
I do know that Tony is always looking for new articles and photos so feel free to contact him.

Maybe each issue should include at least 1 article on great abbs and 1 on better sex. That seams to be working for \"mens health\" After 6 issues I have a 36 pack and I am challanging John Dwan for is title as \"the worlds greatest Lover\"!!!!


Post by d0m » Fri Jan 06, 2006 1:04 pm

How about the fact that there is actually very little incentive to contribute? When my brother offered some photos to SA Mountain, he was informed that they didn't pay students, not even for developing/printing costs.

I'm not sure if they pay anyone else, but I sure as hell wouldn't give away my work for free and, in essence, make a net loss on said work.

But, to be honest, at least the standard of (some of) the journalism has risen past the point of blatantly stealing news (i.e. copy/paste style) from Now it's actually edited, at least, after it's stolen. Maybe a better question to ask is, does SA Mountain really need 2 full pages of international news (straight from a few websites) when it only has 2 pages of SA news?

I don't really buy the mag (bar one or two issues), and I sure wouldn't subscribe. Why? I really couldn't be bothered to read condescending editorials and articles from Tony Lourens and others about bouldering (not to take anything away from Guy Holwill and JuzH's articles, which were pretty good, and I actually bought those issues).

That said, you can't please all the people all the time, and maybe I'm too hard to please to even bother with.


Post by MW » Fri Jan 06, 2006 3:58 pm

Eish - can u really call it only 2 pages of local interest? What was the Trango trip - a bunch of vervet monkeys going off into the blue?

Its a foreign country but an incredible stunt by SOUTH AFRICANS. Hell yeah it would be nice to see some more on local spots and definitely some different topics, writing styles etc. But the Trango team did something cool and earned the cover pic - see earlier comments on the cover in this forum (even if its not the most mindblowing looking crank ever).

I do agree though about the pic quality given the kind of photographic talent we have who are also climbers...

Maybe the fame and the glory should sometimes be enough for submitting pics n articles, but if Tony doesn't get anything good this way, then the market will simply do its job.

Be nice to see a post from the mag while we are here...

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Post by Stu » Fri Jan 06, 2006 4:55 pm

Jeez alot of moaning going on here, with limited readers out there, about 2500 or so what can be done. Paying for photo's could be the way to go but will that push up the price of the mag and will people be willing to pay for it. Your comments are pretty negative dOm, you can't cater just for boulders' there are others out there who actually prefer ropes and draws. MW, my commets about the Trango pic was so not serious.

Post by » Fri Jan 06, 2006 5:17 pm

The Trango expedition was a big achievement and should be recognised, but I would also like to see more articles that reflect the interests of local rockclimbers. At least more of a balance between the various disciplines (ie more pics of wild moves on sunkissed rock) or is it just me who is not interested in mountaineering and big wall suffering.

Post by » Fri Jan 06, 2006 6:16 pm

Get a subscription to 'The Alpinist', it's by far the best climbing mag I've ever read. Bit pricey though :-( but you will not be disappointed...

Trad Uncle

Post by Trad Uncle » Fri Jan 06, 2006 11:36 pm

SAM is a really awesome mag & for a very small community. I've got all the issues & will keep getting them all. I'm a fan! Big time

But I love to have a bit of a bitch:
1) Is there anyone who reads all that international news? More space needs to go to local stuff.
2) Less overseas articals, even by local climbers. The poms have got the ratios right. Most pom climbing mags are centred on the local scene.
3) More local crag guides. Actule current info, not just memories of the better days & past trips.
4) It seems that you have to crack the nod to get stuff in. Its always seems to be the same crew: Keith James, Mark Johnson, Andy Woods, Ed Feb. Possibly because they are the only ones committed to write stuff. But in our crowd, we all agreed that it was all about cracking the nod. Not many of the group are still submitting anything. deamed a waste of time to bother.
5) What about some normal trad ie: not some huge Trango epic with buses & highways in Pakistan. I'm talking 2 normal hairies takkle a bunch of pitches at some sweet local destination (no local is not only CT) & include a crag guide. Local boulder topos would be awesome too.

Hope that was constructive. Must repeat that I'm a true fan. Good work Tony and crew.

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