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Climbing Announces New Editor

Shannon Davis takes charge; Dougald MacDonald stays on in active role.

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Boulder, CO: Active Interest Media’s Outdoor Group today announced the promotion of Shannon Davis to Editor of Climbing magazine, and the appointment of outgoing editor Dougald MacDonald to the new role of Editor-at-Large. “We’re thrilled to create this new leadership team, which combines decades of climbing industry experience with consumer-first magazine expertise,” said group vice president Jonathan Dorn. “Both guys are passionate evangelists for the sport, and both know how to make the pages of a magazine work hard to enable every type of climber participate with more skill and confidence.”

Davis comes to Climbing from sister publication Backpacker, also based in Boulder, where he has been senior editor in charge of the magazine’s destination coverage—and a core part of Backpacker’s gear-testing program. A professional mountaineering guide with ascents of McKinley, Rainier, and the Tetons’ Grand Traverse, he describes himself as “the classic jack-of-all-trades who’s psyched on them all.” In addition to rock and ice climbing, Davis is an avid backpacker, backcountry snowboarder, trail runner, fly fisherman, and adventure racer. “You won’t find me leading 5.14, or even 5.12,” says Davis, “but you will find me dreaming about routes like the Exum Direct or The Nose or Ptarmigan Ridge, or even the first climb I ever led—Seneca Rocks’ Candy Corner. And that puts me smack in the audience sweet spot for Climbing. Our mission is to grow the sport by embracing all levels of climbers—not just the elite—and giving them inspiring stories and photography, and heaps of practical advice about where to climb, what gear to use, and which training tactics produce the best results. Dougald has done a terrific job of reorienting Climbing around that kind of editorial, and I look forward to working with him to extend the audience growth we’ve seen in the last couple of years.”

MacDonald joined Climbing in May 2010 when AIM took over management of the title for Skram Media. Under his direction, the brand has enjoyed 30 percent growth in paid subscriptions in just the last 12 months; both the magazine and the website have been redesigned based on the most extensive reader research in Climbing’s history; online traffic has grown by 75 percent; and Climbing has launched tablet editions for iPad, Nook, Kindle, and Google. “These are the goals that Jon Dorn and I identified when I came on board,” says MacDonald. “I told him I would give him two years as editor before returning to my freelance career. My task was to study the audience, understand what readers want from a climbing magazine today, and refocus the editorial around those needs. Thanks to a talented, hardworking staff and incredible longtime contributors, we’re seeing tremendous response to the new Climbing.”

In his new half-time role as Editor-at-Large, MacDonald will assist Davis with story planning, research, writing, editing, and online news, while also sharing his unrivaled depth of knowledge about the sport.

About the AIM Outdoor Group

AIM’s Outdoor Group is a blend of consumer and trade publications that reaches 3 million active enthusiasts each month across the trail, climbing, fitness, and ski industries. In addition to Backpacker and Climbing, it publishes SNEWS, Outdoor Retailer Daily, Epic Life (formerly Peaks), Snow Show Daily, and National Park Trips (a group of four magazines and five websites dedicated to Western outdoor travel). Based in Boulder, CO, the Outdoor Group also operates two of the most successful events in the outdoor industry: Backpacker’s annual Adventures NYC festival in Central Park, and Get Out More, a beginner-oriented clinic series that travels to 70 retailers annually.

About Active Interest Media, Inc.

Based in El Segundo, California, Active Interest Media, Inc. (AIM) is a leading publisher of enthusiast magazines, consumer shows, books and Internet sites. AIM’s five publishing groups include Healthy Living, Marine, Home Buyer, Outdoor and the Equine Group. The company publishes 35 magazines, including Yoga Journal, Backpacker, Vegetarian Times, SNEWS, American Cowboy, Log Home Living, Arts & Crafts Homes, Peaks, Dressage, Black Belt, Yachts International, and others.

AIM produces and markets conferences, DVDs and books, and produces log-and-timber home shows and seminars. The company also produces the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show®, the largest boat show in the world.