mOthEr rOck: A Look Back at Southern California’s Climbing Magazine

mOthEr rOck #1Oh No, Not ANOTHER Climbing Rag…

Welcome to the first issue of mOthEr rOck, a homegrown newsletter dedicated to informing and amusing climbers in Southern California.

First let’s get something straight. What you won’t see in these pages is trad vs. sport posturing, run-on sentences about the ethics of bolting on rappel, and other similar babbling which seems to take up too many precious pages in our favorite magazines like Rock & Ice and Climbing these days. Shut up and climb already!

mOthEr rOck #3What you will find here is some fun, adventure, humor, … whatever. We’re not out to find a solution to overpopulation or world hunger, or make ourselves financially secure by selling billions of dollars in advertising. We’ll simply give you some information about local climbing opportunities. You know, the kind of stuff that helps you enjoy your chosen hobby. Not the kind of stuff that makes you embarrassed to climb.

…and so it began in July 1996.

mOthEr rOck was a low-budget Southern California rock climbing magazine that dominated all of my free time from 1996 to 1998. If you’re interested in seeing what it was like, this document contains all 14 issues and mini-guides.

In September 1997, mOthEr rOck Magazine spawned mOthEr rOck Mail, an E-mail based newsletter chock full of useful info about the climbing scene in Southern California. You can read all past issues of mOthEr rOck Mail here.  Believe it or not, there’s still some useful information in the magazine and e-newsletter, more than 15 years later.

By the time the publication was killed off in late August, 1998, mOthEr rOck Magazine had about 125 paid subscribers and mOthEr rOck Mail was read by nearly 1,000 climbers in Southern California and beyond.

And this is how it ended…

mOthEr rOck #6After nearly three years, more than a dozen issues of the paper magazine, numerous E-mail newletters, and about ten guidebooks, mOthEr rOck is calling it quits. Why? It’s a lot of work, and I’m tired of pulling all nighters trying to get the next issue together. Plus, it interferes with precious climbing time.

What So Cal climbers don’t need is another climbing “fashion mag.” Over the three-year evolution of the mag, we’ve tried to take it in new directions and upgrade the quality, while still staying true to our roots. It’s been a wild ride. Lots of hard work, and lots of fun. The best part was all the people we’ve met along the way. Reese Martin, James March, Max Armept, Wills Young, Aaron Rough, Louie Anderson, Chris Miller, and so many others that we better stop now before filling the whole page with one long list of names.

mOthEr rOck #10

While mOthEr rOck has only been on the scene for a little while, it’s been the catalyst for a number of friendships that I have a feeling will last a lifetime. If you have any questions about your subscription, please E-mail me. All comments are welcome…as long as you don’t try to talk me out of this!

Matt Artz, editor, mOthEr rOck Magazine, 30 August 1998

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