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Derek Franz begins new role as editor-in-chief of Alpinist
Posted on: September 9, 2022
Derek Franz and friends avoiding the usual mule train of climbers on Pingora's Northeast Buttress (5.8)—one of the "Fifty Crowded Classics" of North America—by climbing it in drizzly weather in 2019, Wind River Range, Wyoming. [Photo] Derek Franz
Alpinist has named Derek Franz as the new editor-in-chief.
Franz began freelancing for the magazine in 2011 and published his first story in The Climbing Life of Alpinist 36.
Franz joined the Alpinist staff in September 2016 as the digital editor. While learning the crafts of HTML coding for the website and managing social media, he assisted with editing and continued to write for the print magazine. He began hosting the Alpinist Podcast in 2019.
"I'm truly humbled and honored to start this new chapter for the magazine," Franz says. "As the new editor-in-chief I will do my best to uphold the tradition of excellence that has been ingrained with the brand since Alpinist 0 was published in 2002."
Outgoing editor-in-chief Katie Ives left in mid-August to begin working on a second climbing-related book. Her first book, Imaginary Peaks: The Riesenstein Hoax and Other Mountain Dreams, was published in 2021 and has achieved critical acclaim.
Ives joined Alpinist as an intern in 2004 and ascended to the top spot in May 2012. Christian Beckwith and Michael Kennedy preceded her in the esteemed role.
"I'm grateful beyond words for my nearly eighteen years at Alpinist," Ives says. "I have learned so much from every staff member and writer who has worked with me and from every community member and reader who has corresponded with me."
"Ives brought a new level of excellence to the magazine during her career," says Height of Land Publications President and CEO Adam Howard. "Her work ethic and talent is unparalleled in outdoor journalism and she truly helped raise our quality standards with every brand. But, while we're sad to see her go, we're equally excited for Derek to reimagine Alpinist."
Paula LaRochelle will stay on as Deputy Editor and Alpinist will be hiring an assistant editor in the coming months.
When Franz joined Alpinist in 2016, he brought with him a long history of climbing and writing experience. He started climbing at age 11 and led his first route on the Diamond of Longs Peak at 15. Franz graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2005. He interned at Rock and Ice before working as a copy editor, columnist and reporter for various newspapers that were owned by Colorado Mountain News Media from 2005 to 2013.
"I've always been captivated by climbing stories because there is usually so much more happening beyond the physical act itself," Franz says. "Every person brings their unique history and perspective to the mountains. Two partners can have two very different experiences on the same climb. And climbers in general tend to be thoughtful with broad worldviews. It is an absolute thrill to have the opportunity to shepherd these people's stories into print for the global community of Alpinist readers!"
Alpinist 79, Ives' last issue, is on sale now. Alpinist 80 comes out in November.
You can read more about Franz's climbing background in a recent story he wrote for Alpinist 76 (2021), titled "Yosemite Dreams."
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