Justin Roth - "Pro" Blog 5

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Our office mascot, Clyde the Wunder Hund, allows the Editor-in-Chief share his office. Photo by Justin Roth

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Behind the Veil: Inside Climbing

People like to know what’s behind the veil. Take as proof all those exposés — “Kitchen Confidential”, “Behind the Music”, inside-the-beltway political tomes, uhm… “Inside the Actor’s Studio”… you get the picture. Well, I’m going to let you in, with a special VIP pass, to the high-stakes, no-holds-barred, chalky, duplicitous, and spray-saturated world of climbing media. Today I’m lifting the red velour rope to our very own office. Please, come in.

Welcome to Climbing, in sunny Boulder, Colorado. It’s likely something you’ve been dreaming about. Let’s have a little tour, shall we? That’s our receptionist, Hanna. She speaks eight languages (a must when dealing with climbers and contribs from the four corners). And here, in this climate-controlled case, we have a biner from Lynn Hill’s first free ascent of The Nose. Notice the unusual scarring just above the gate… What’s that? Why, yes, I agree, the vaulted ceilings do lend a sense of space and decorum… it took my breath away the first time, too. Now I’m used to it.

The company car: one of the many perks of a media gig. We call it the Spray Mobile. Photo by Justin Roth

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Moving on, here’s the intern’s office — we only give interns one 30-inch, high-def, flat panel display… I know it seems tough, but character is best forged in the smithy of adversity, I always say. And this is our assistant editor’s office — notice the parquet floors, they were installed by an Italian mountaineer and craftsman who’s lived off the radar in a hidden cave in the Dolemites for the past six years. In that frame you’ll notice a route map; do you recognize it? That’s right! It was actually drawn by Heinrich Harrer, as he pondered his treacherous line up the Eigernordwand. It’s the original (see the doodle of a spider in the margins there?).

Food, magazines, swag, assorted electrical appliances… in short, the office of a professional. Photo by Justin Roth

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Here’s my office. I like to keep it simple: an autographed poster of Sharma on his realization of Realization (9a+), a bank of monitors with a dedicated T1 line for my machine, an espresso machine, and my gear bin. Sure, you can take a peak! Just step up onto the ladder and lift the lid. Ah, I forgot the security code; allow me. There you are, gaze away! Yep, that’s the upcoming aerogel crashpad. Scientists initially used aerogel to capture micro-meteors as they fell to earth; it’s the lightest solid known to man. At 14oz, that pad can stop a digger from 25 feet. I know, sick brau. And those shoes are prototypes, not due out till 2015 (awaiting government clearance on the tech) — they use that Gecko nano-hair design you’ve read about to tap into the super-powerful forces of the quantum universe. Take your time; dig through. Ooh, that? I can’t tell you what that does. In fact, I’m going to have to erase your memory. Sorry, shouldn’t have let you see that — just hold still, this won’t hurt a bit… there, all better.

Shhh… he’ll hear us! Oh good lord he’s coming this way! Photo by Justin Roth

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Finally, we have the Head Honcho’s office. Yup, behind the stained glass doors. Unfortunately, I can’t let anyone in there. Actually, he’s inside working now, and despite the soundproof walls, we’ve probably already disturbed him — he’s very sensitive. Please, this way, quickly!

In the sitting room here, we have a news feed — it’s like a stock ticker, but with line after line of breaking news being submitted, via phone, email, text message, even Morse code in the case of our more remote operatives, by our global network of contributors. It’s pretty handy when we’re putting together Hot Flashes. Hey, will you look at that! A 7-year-old from Slovenia just flashed Action Direct. Don’t know if we’ll have room to run that one, but interesting nonetheless! Certainly, help yourself to some tea — that’s a special Tibetan blend Reinhold Messner brought back for us. Namaste.

The view from inside. Photo by Justin Roth

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Ah, care for a massage in the spa? No? Suit yourself. I’ll probably grab a quick one after I see you out then. I should be getting back to work soon — my piece on the real first ascent of Everest has a ways to go. (I won’t say who, exactly, but the distinguished party hails from a nation that begins with “Mex” and ends with “ico.”) So that’s the tour, more or less. Nothing fancy, really — just your average niche action sports media publication editorial offices. There are more rooms, but nothing particularly noteworthy. Come back again for a sesh on the house boulder — we imported it from Hueco at no small expense. Another time! I should really get back to work! It was great to see you — grab a copy of the latest issue on your way out, Hanna will have some extras.