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Alpinist partners with Korean publisher to launch Alpinist Korea

Alpinst Korea

[Photo] The first two issues of Alpinist Korea.

Alpinist is proud to announce the recent partnership with Mountain Journal in Seoul, South Korea, to launch Alpinist Korea–a magazine that prints Alpinist stories translated into Korean, as well as some original articles by Korean authors.

The first issue of Alpinist Korea came off the press in February, and the second issue will be available starting this week to subscribers in South Korea.

The collaboration has been in the works since late 2019, but was put on pause in early 2020 because of COVID-19.

“We’re honored that Mountain Journal wants to partner with us,” Katie Ives, editor-in-chief of Alpinist says, “and we’re excited to be able to share some of our stories with a wider audience. Through this partnership, we also hope to be able to collaborate with more Korean writers on their own alpine-climbing stories–which could be translated into English and published in our magazine–and to think of more ways for cross-cultural dialogue and exchange.”

Alpinist Korea Editor Young Hoon Oh elaborated on the motivation for starting the magazine in an early April email:

The idea of Alpinist Korea magazine is not a recent one. Ever since its inception, a few visionary Koreans toyed with the idea to translate Alpinist into Korean…. Why now? Several contexts: translation became easier than ever; you now see many translated magazines in bookstores; international traveling for climbing is now common; and, the COVID-19 forced me (the editor) to remain in place in Korea. At the same time, there’s been a clear decline in the popularity of, and commitment to, adventurous climbing and alpinism in Korea, as opposed to the sheer rise of sport and gym climbing. Further, we’re concerned about an increasing lack of dialogue within climbing and mountaineering communities, partly because of the fall of journalism in the era of social media.

Alpinist’s articles are distinctive in that they are, in general, quite long. It’s hardly been a convention in Korean mountaineering journalism to share a climber’s own perceptions and feelings in such detail and in such a descriptive manner, other than the success or failure of the objective. Our readers already expressed surprise and joy, appreciating the power of literature in mountaineering journalism.

At the moment when the second issue was published at the end of March, we had a little more than 400 subscribers, a modest number. Yet we’re hopeful. To facilitate cross-cultural interpretation, moreover, we started a YouTube channel titled Off Belay,” where one or two experts are invited to share their thoughts and experiences after reading an article–similar to the Alpinist Podcast, but ours adds a tint of cultural interpretation and personal perspective….

We find an important value from alpinism and adventure climbing…where the public may gain a genuinely fresh perspective of life, the environment and the social world. This, we believe, we might be able to achieve by sharing what Alpinist has long strived for: the gem in the irony of pursuing life under precarity; a democratic faith that finds fault with one’s own comfortable assumptions.

According to Adam Howard, President and CEO of Height of Land Publications, which owns Alpinist, Backcountry, Mountain Flyer and Cross Country Skier, the opportunity to translate the long-form work of HOL magazines is unique in today’s media landscape. Plus, the authors and photographers of the original material published in Alpinist will receive payment when their work is republished (with their permission) in Alpinist Korea.

“The volume of interest in translating the work of our authors and editors has grown tremendously in the last two years,” Howard says. “Our efforts with Young Hoon are laying the groundwork for more opportunities in Central Europe, Scandinavia and South America as well.”

He notes that Backcountry Magazine will be available in French in Autumn 2021.

Here you can find links to Alpinist Korea‘s website, Facebook and Instagram pages.