The Dirt on Semi-Rad, and Brendan Leonard!

So, you may be familiar with the serial blog, ‘Semi-Rad’.  If not, you should familiarize yourself with it. Semi-Rad is a really well-written, funny, and honest blog – and the guy behind it is a really good guy.  I have to admit, though, I was a little bit jealous – maybe even wary – of Brendan Leonard before I got to know him.  As a writer in the climbing industry you look at a guy who regularly publishes articles, has a sponsored blog, has written multiple books – and you think, man, that guy’s made it.  If you’re the little guy (and I definitely am, in stature as well as prestige), it’d be easy to see Brendan as dangerous competition… or maybe just someone hogging all the opportunities.

Brendan in Zion

Brendan looking super-threatening.

But every time I had a correspondence with Brendan, I found him lending a helping hand.  From suggesting places I might try to publish my work, to getting me a foot in the door with Outdoor Research’s blog, Verticulture, to giving me advice about blogging in general – Brendan has been super-helpful in keeping my head up in this really challenging game.  And making selling media in the climbing industry really is challenging… Even if you don’t mind “selling out” (and trust me, if you struggle long enough you won’t), once you’ve decided to write copy, or gear reviews, or top 10 lists or whatever – it’s really hard to get your stuff seen, and sold.

So, all of Brendan’s help came as a bit of a surprise to me.  Up until I read this blog post. If you haven’t looked at it yet, take a second to give it a gander. Pay close attention to the run-down of the past 12 years of Brendan’s life.  Simply put, this guy has earned it.  If Brendan’s got a solid foot in the door (which is not nearly as secure or glamorous as it sounds, by the way) – it’s because he’s worked really really hard to get there.  Why’s a guy like Brendan helping me out?  Because this is climbing, not wall street.  People are reasonable, and just generally good.  Hard as it is – I wouldn’t describe this industry as cutthroat.

If you find yourself writing, taking photos, and making videos about climbing so much that it’s almost all that you do, welcome to the club.  If you expect to get paid doing it – that’s a smaller club.  If you think you can make a living do that, and that alone – that’s an elite club, and there aren’t many members.  There are quicker and more reasonable ways to riches – even within the climbing industry.  To stick with it as Brendan has is a labor of love – and that’s why he helps out the little guy.

So here’s to Brendan, and to all the little people out there trying to make it.  They’re all on the fringe, as far as I’m concerned, and they all deserve a round of applause.  And YOUR SUPPORT!  If you like pictures, stories, and flicks about climbing that tell stories more interesting than who climbed what V or 5. 15 – visit sites like Semi-Rad regularly, subscribe to them, like them on facebook, share them with your friends – site views do matter. Good blogs are not easy to make, and they are NOT lucrative.  They come to you, the consumer, for free, or at the price of small banner ads that really aren’t that bad.  Buy books like Brendan’s Funny Shit in the Woods for yourselves, for your friends – for the purists, dirtbags, and salty oldtimers who live climbing… In short (I know, this is already long), be like Brendan, and stick up for the little guy – he’s sticking up for you.

Brendan plotting out his violent take-over of the entire climbing industry… Photo: Dan Patitucci



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