Alpinist Redpoints Cover Misses Onsight

Posted on: November 3, 2011

September 9, 2011

The staff has proofread and signed off on the cover for Alpinist 36. Art Director Michael Lorenz opens a file, hot keys "A" to change his cursor into a pointer tool and saves the files as a printable PDF. He uploads the file to the printer and continues work on the three magazines all due within the next forty-eight hours.

September 16, 2011 12:15 p.m.

"[expletive deleted]" - Michael Kennedy, Editor-in-Chief

"[expletive deleted]" - Adam Howard, Editorial Director

"[EXPLETIVE DELETED]" - Michael Kennedy


September 16, 2011 12:16 p.m.

"Jon, how much would it cost to reprint the cover of Alpinist?"- Adam Howard

"Why are you asking?" - Jon Howard, Publisher

What prompted the frantic phone calls between Alpinist's Editor-in-Chief, Editorial Director and Publisher was the letter A. The cover text of Issue 36, which should have read Ian Parnell Weighs The White Cliffs of Dover had been changed to Ian Parnell Weighs The A Cliffs of Dover. A call to the printers revealed that all the covers for Issue 36 had been printed, with The A Cliffs. Michael Kennedy describes the experience of discovering the typo below.

"I had gotten the final PDFs of the rest of the magazine and was planning on printing everything out and putting together a mock magazine. When I printed out the cover I just about had a stroke when I saw the typo...couldn't figure out how we'd missed it. I went back to the PDF I'd seen and approved earlier and it was fine."


When the Art Director had "Hot Keyed" his cursor he had inadvertently added a letter onto magazine's cover. For about a week (that casually coincided with deadline week) we, the Alpinist employees, held our collective breath. We take pride in the accuracy and professionalism of Alpinist Magazine. Fact checking each article of Alpinist usually involves talking to first ascensionists and correcting errors in guidebooks, and serves as a chance to set the historical record straight. And, we had a typo on the cover of the magazine. A yellow size twelve typo on Alpinist 36's full page, John Svenson-illustrated cover. For the editorial staff there wasn't much discussion; the cover had to be reprinted. The publishing and marketing team gently reminded everyone that to shred the old covers and reprint would cost enough for a six month climbing road-trip or an exploratory month in Kyrgyzstan. Anyone following the print industry, or the history of this particular title, knows that print isn't in the same place financially as say Apple or Exxon.

It wasn't a hard decision, just a hard truth that we closed our eyes and swallowed. We reprinted the covers. When Alpinist 36 arrives at your door, the cover will be blemish free, as it should be. Some of us wanted to let the matter end there. It was an expensive fiasco, and not something we really needed/wanted to share with you, the reader. But we botched this lead, and we'll admit it. Now we're sitting on fifty-two pounds of cosmetically blemished factory seconds of Alpinist 36 coversheets. Since this will never happen again, we thought we'd do something the community can be a part of. (Also anything to make this mistake hurt less would help.) So we're selling a limited number of Alpinist 36 coversheets. What's more each member of the Alpinist Editorial staff will personally sign every one of these coversheets. The sheets are straight from the publishing house and feature a double front and back of Alpinist 36's cover and can be purchased at Alpinist's online store. Once we're out of covers we're forgetting this ever happened AND. NEVER. REPEATING. THIS PROCESS AGAIN. So these truly are a one-time Alpinist experience.


Michael Kennedy, Adam Howard, Jon Howard, Katie Ives, Simon Peterson, Mike Lorenz, Keese Lane, and Gwen Cameron

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.


As climbers we have a responsibility to be stewards of the environment. I can't imagine a small typo on the cover justifying the carbon footprint of reprinting. As a subscriber, I would have much rather seen the editorial staff say "oops" and move on.

2011-11-20 00:46:00

great story, just went uptairs (sic) to bedside table to see if it read "A" or "WHITE" (not yet having read your last paragraph here) and found "WHITE" — stuff happens, right? I have done it too, and should know better (good that you could make the right decision, i.e., reprint. . . .

2011-11-19 08:00:54

As a former editor for a student publication, It's comforting to know that even professionals can be outwitted by hot keys. Keep on Rocking Alpinist.

2011-11-06 00:23:44
Keese Lane

@ wormly 250.626

2011-11-03 23:35:14

Are you able to estimate how many need to be sold to pay for the reprint?

2011-11-03 22:39:04
Keese Lane

@ Automated. That sounds horrible! We at least never saw the errors until after the book, with the corrected cover was out. Glad you got out of that one.

@ CPVT98 While we hear you, it really was not an option. To see something like this, and know you can fix it, but then pretend it isn't there would drive us all crazy. Not too mention having to live with a typo on the cover for the three months until 37 is out would be too much.

@ Chewtoy, didn't year hear Dr's can just spell it however they please! How is the darkness treating you?

2011-11-03 22:27:13

"An editor is not copy editor. The two are different jobs."

Shouldn't there be an "a" before "copy editor"? The ironing is delicious.

Also, in the climbing mag world (and, I'm guessing, the worlds of other enthusiast publications), that statement isn't always true ... sadly.

2011-11-03 22:22:52

I miss-spelled a word on the cover my dissertation almost as many times as there are pages in the tomb,

Aysemtterical-thnx for signing my dissertation

Asymettreical-um could ya sign it again before I mail it out for the rest of the signatures.


Asymettrical-last time I promise

Asymetrical-Jeff it is still wrong.

Asymmetrical-Jeff now that you are a Dr. buying a Schtupping Dictionary.

2011-11-03 21:27:18

Neat little artifact to own. I'm happy to help defray costs for a publication I admire. That said, it was a honest mistake — one that could (and perhaps ought to) have been left 'as is' and moved on in an effort to be a bit more sustainable. Did anyone read the new report about the ridiculously ahead-of-schedule increase of CO2 over the past two years? It makes things like typos seem like what the ultimately are: pretty insignificant.

2011-11-03 17:10:04

Is that why my Sub Issue is late? What pisses me off is that these are on the shelves at stores and I haven't received my copy.

2011-11-03 07:40:19

An editor is not copy editor. The two are different jobs.

2011-11-03 04:23:53

this happened to us at climbing once. the printer actually activated a layer containing cover lines from the previous issue. the rush of opening a box of hot copies with errors all over the cover was intense. like grabbing a small-kitchen-appliance sized block of granite on a climb, only to have it come loose and hurtle towards your belayer. luckily, we got them recalled and reprinted before any subscribers received them. the block whizzing just inches form the belayer, crisis was averted and all was well...

2011-11-03 02:59:34

Awesome. I'd take one of those.

Looks like "White" was left out as well!

2011-11-03 02:24:32
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