Review: The Circuit magazine, the evolution of climbing

I'm finally after getting through the 1st edition of The Circuit magazine I mentioned previously, I've had that other big book to read this week so a lot to consume and process.


The 1st edition is focused on bouldering, and  is essentially a collection of interviews with top climbers, both indoors and competition. The content list alone is worth highlighting to give an idea of the range and quality of interviewees:


What I love is how the interviews have been transcribed......they're literally word for word transcripts as taken from whatever audio device was used. That means you can feel the mannerisms of some the climbers, the calmness of others (e.g. Jacky Godoffe) and the wired energy of others (Udo Neumann). Covering a large swathe of topics, it starts off with a focus on competitions Udo's is fantastic, great little snippets and ideas. It's one of those articles you need to read a few times to tease all of the gems covering ideas on everything from momentum

"....lots of movement is about awareness, how to activate the necessary part of the nervous system and the muscular system, they're so intertwined."

to flexibility:

"..especially in bouldering, flexibility is so important......This is a fairly new development that we didn't see coming 10 years ago. For example it is not discussed at all in Performance Rock Climbing......And nowadays, especially since the advent of volumes, you know you have to be able to apply force to the wall in basically weird positions....."

to competition:

"....the coaching job at this level is more complex as the athletes are all very powerful anywhow. At the top level you will ssee that bouldering contests are decided between the athlete's ears...."


Jacky Godoffe's is also excellent, such a progressive open mindset. Again, discussing competition:

"I think all climbers were more focused about pleasure in climbing, it being a free sport. Which was also my case, but I was really curious and very open.........for me, competition was not a bad thing, the same way at the moment the Olympics could be a direction that the sport goes down...."

and movement:

"I think to be honest, at the moment the place where the climbers can be really better is just how to move their body......but most of them are sometimes they pull very hard but they don't know how to move their body...."



I could go on with several great sections from every article.. In almost every interview, there's several gems that can be taken away - perspectives from a local cultural perspective towards climbing (both indoors, outdoors and competition) to training to personal reasons for performance. Most importantly, the interviews are market-ized - i.e. they are honest, frank, willing to discuss difficult periods in their lives (Mina's is especially humbling in this regard). And then, to top it all off, there are excellent photos throughout of both competitions and exotic locations (Rocklands goes back to the top of my list again of destinations I'd like to visit....), some of which you'd happily wish could be purchased in large formats for putting at your own training facililty or home wall/fingerboard.


All in all, an interesting magazine, with a refreshing approach of no advertisements whatsoever. I wonder whether advertising will occur at some point in the future (got to pay the bills somehow!) but so long as it's of the acceptable kind (perhaps the compromise that would suit the format is single-page large spreads as most of these use photos) over the small-advert jammed onto every. single. page it just might work. As of now, it's a refreshing addition to the offerings - I know I'll be buying the next one.



Good books on the topic as linked to previously:

Want to buy some of these books from Amazon and support this site? UK Readers and US Readers.

Sport Climbing

Dave Graham