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We Are of the Mountains

Real love: ROb Coppolillo, seen here with his family, made our lives better.

We celebrate 15 years of publishing Elevation Outdoors magazine and say a sad farewell to Beloved longtime contributing Editor Rob Coppolillo.

Photo: Real love: Rob Coppolillo, seen here with his family, made our lives better.

As of this issue, we have been publishing Elevation Outdoors magazine for 15 years. We started during a recession, survived the pandemic, and have continued to weather changes that have put far too many print magazines in the outdoor industry and beyond out of business.

I hope we have endured because people like you enjoy picking up this oversize free read; holding it in your hands; and perusing the outstanding reporting, opinion, ideas, information, gear recommendations, and all the other good stuff we have worked so hard to bring you. This is a labor of love. We are passionate about the wild and free places where we play, find inspiration, meditate, and respect the beauty of wildlife and natural processes. We are passionate about writing about those places—about how they affect us, heal us, scare us sometimes; about how they can be saved and they can be enjoyed more equitably; about how to get to them, what to do there, and the swag you will want to bring. an ever more frenetic and tech-run world, this simple mission is more important than ever.

I also think we have thrived because of the dedicated, smart, passionate people who contribute to this magazine every issue. Managing Editor Cameron Martindell and Senior Editor Chris Kassar have been here almost since the beginning and continue to put their hearts into this project. Deputy Editor Tracy Ross is always excited for each new issue. Elwayville columnist Peter Kray and illustrator Kevin Howdeshell provide constant back-page soul. Copy Editor Melissa Howsam somehow works us in between a full-time gig. Photographer Liam Doran has provided more winning cover shots than we can count. Publisher Hannah Cooper sells ads with new baby in hand. Summit Publishing President Blake DeMaso continues to believe in what we produce. And Creative Director Melissa Kennelly and Designer Rebecca Cencewizki make it all look beautiful. A wonderful team puts what you are reading now into your hands.

We are also grateful to our contributing editors and a long list of writers, photographers, and illustrators who bring their talents to these pages. But we must say we are devastated that we lost one of the very best last month. I first met Rob Coppolillo riding in Italy on a trip with Andy Hampsten, and we have been friends ever since, bonded by a love for food, jokes, and the joy of spinning European roads. He began contributing to Elevation Outdoors before he had earned the coveted IFMGA certification that then made him a qualified expert on technical information he provided here, from anchoring belays to understanding snow science. And he made us laugh. While his know-how was much appreciated, it was his constant sense of humor that connected us to him—that and his love for the people he met across the globe and, most of all, for his family—his wife, Rebecca, and sons, Dominic and Luca.

Rob died in a crevasse fall while guiding clients in British Columbia. It was an unfair end for a man who was so dedicated to safety and education about how to take care of yourself in the mountains. What matters, though, is how many people he inspired and taught and made laugh along the way. This is what the mountains bring us, a sense of who we can be in this world despite all the unknowns and dangers. Rob will always be with us, and this 15th anniversary issue of Elevation Outdoors is dedicated to him.

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