Circulation slide kills 'Mountain'

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

THE FOREMOST English language record of developments in world mountaineering and rock climbing, the Sheffield-based magazine Mountain, has ceased publication.

Launched in January 1969, price 3s 9d (just under 19p), the magazine aimed for high-quality pictures and articles by those at the leading edge of the sport. The last issue contained a piece by the Tyrolean Reinhold Messner, the first man to climb all 14 of the world's peaks over 8,000 metres (26,240 feet); the issue before had an interview with his British contemporary, Doug Scott.

But the emphasis on the extremes of climbing in the greater ranges and on rock, and the need in an international publication to devote a good deal of space to America and Australia, alienated many 'ordinary' British climbers.

Circulation of the magazine, which came out every two months, had dwindled from 15,000 in 1987 to 8,300 by issue 145 when climber-owner Paul Nunn and his partner Pat Lewis, wife of a past editor, decided to call it a day. UK retail sales were down to 3,000.

'I think it's very sad,' Mr Nunn said yesterday, a verdict echoed throughout the mountaineering community. Much of the blame was put on fragmentation between different types of climbing - with the growth of sport climbing, on indoor walls and bolt-protected crags - and the emergence of rival magazines.

After an unsuccessful rescue attempt, led by the magazine's founder Ken Wilson, the title was sold to High magazine, the official journal of the British Mountaineering Council.