Posted on: December 12, 2007

—All Inventory Lost—

—Subscriptions and Company Operations to Continue Without Interruption—

On December 5, at approximately 11 a.m. CST, an Oregon, Illinois, warehouse that contained all of Alpinist Magazine's inventory—back issues, hats, shirts, water bottles, stickers, coffee mugs—burned to the ground. Nothing was salvaged.

According to news reports, a forklift operator backed into a gas line in the warehouse, which was owned by the Kable News Company, a fulfillment company that provides subscription services for magazines such as Alpinist. The forklift punctured a gas line; the escaping gas was then ignited by a nearby space heater. The warehouse's twenty employees escaped without injury, but by the time the 200-plus firefighters arrived from twenty area fire departments to combat the blaze, there was little they could do but let the two-story building burn to the ground.

Rockford, Illinois', WREX-TV reported Oregon Fire Chief Don Heller as saying that the building was essentially "a box of timber." "And we're still trying to figure out why the sprinkler system was shut off in this building," Heller, who estimated the damage at as much as $8 million, was quoted as saying.

For the Jackson, Wyoming-based Alpinist LLC, the fire came at a particularly critical time.


"The destruction of our entire inventory, including all our back issues, would have been bad enough. This one, though, came in the middle of the holidays—our bread-and-butter season," said Alpinist publisher Marc Ewing. "We're dealing with details such as insurance and inventory loss at the moment, but the fire hasn't affected subscription fulfillment in the least."

"The silver lining has been the response from the climbing community," said Alpinist co-founder Christian Beckwith. "We've received emails of support from around the world, and numerous readers have resubscribed or subscribed for the first time. Regardless of what it means to us as a business, as climbers the value of such responses is immense."

Hailed by Italian climbing legend Reinhold Messner as "The best climbing magazine in the world today," Alpinist Magazine is an archival-quality, quarterly publication dedicated to world alpinism and adventure climbing. Alpinist owners and employees are continuing to finish work on Issue 23, which is due to ship to the printers on December 13 (it will be in stores March 1, 2008). They are also continuing their work on The 2008 Alpinist Film Festival, which is being held January 17-20, 2008, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

"We've put far too much work into Alpinist to let a fire slow us down," said Ewing. "But we are thinking of creating a commemorative t-shirt that reads, 'Official Alpinist Fork Lift Operator'. One day, we want to look back on this and have a good laugh."

Here at Alpinist, our small editorial staff works hard to create in-depth stories that are thoughtfully edited, thoroughly fact-checked and beautifully designed. Please consider supporting our efforts by subscribing.

John Berggren

Thank you Ella. I ordered my missing issue with your help on Friday. I have 2 copies of issue 10 and 16. Would you or your boyfriend like them?

2007-12-16 11:05:27

I have been in a desperate search to replace my holiday order ever since I heard about the fire. The back issues from the first two years are impossible to find anywhere online, but "John Berggren:" I did find your Issue 17 if you are still in need, at...

FYI, my boyfriend cried when he found out about the fire... even before I told him that I had ordered the first two years of back issues, and that I hadn't received them and probably won't.

Our hearts go out to you Alpinist!

2007-12-13 15:46:43
John Berggren

They say the sun shines on a dogs ass once in a while. This summer I ordered up the back issues I've missed and my collection is near complete (except issue 17). You guys do a fantastic job. Perhaps the lesson to be learned is "don't keep your all your eggs in one basket. John

2007-12-13 09:42:04

"Chin up Wilbur." Charlotte's Web

2007-12-12 18:51:19
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