Katie Ives leads the way in the Tetons and in outdoor media. Photo by Dylan Taylor.
This is the first in a series entitled “Women on Lead,” which highlights women who are shaping the climbing industry and climbing community as writers, thinkers, artists, and entrepreneurs.
Mountaineering has often been hailed as the most ‘literary of all sports.’ While nowadays everyone is busy tweeting about their first ascents, we owe it to people like Katie Ives, Editor-in-Chief of the Alpinist, that there are still beautiful outlets for the thoughtfully printed word.
CXC: Katie, in college you already had a passion for literature and climbing. You chose a career that combines both. Tells us a bit about the milestones of your career. What was its most exhilarating move, the most challenging pitch?
KI: I’ve often thought that climbing teaches me how to write. When I was a graduate student in Iowa, my experiences on limestone cliffs helped me become more attuned to details: the light of the sky through a leafless November forest; the glint of crystals on the edge of an embedded fossil; the polished curve of a well-worn hold. Leading and soloing, I felt as though I could access parts of my unconscious mind and find new forms of creativity.
From my first day at Alpinist, I knew I was fortunate to be in a place that seemed like my literary home. I’ve learned from every writer whose work I’ve edited, gaining a sense of vast possibilities of ideas and styles. The span of time between the magazine’s bankruptcy in October 2008 and its relaunch in January 2009 was the most stressful in my career. I’m more grateful than ever, now, for the opportunities that I have.