Okay, I admit, I didn’t get them all. I’m not enough of a climber to know the “V” graphic was for V-Thread. And I still don’t get YDS for “Y.” But I had fun trying.
The Alpinist’s Alphabet is the handiwork of Seth Neilson, a graphic artist and web developer based in Vancouver, Washington.
Neilson’s a lifelong climber, who nowadays crags near Oregon’s Mount Hood, Columbia River Gorge and further north in the central and northern Cascade range.
“I have been hiking and backpacking since I was very young, and started rappelling and then rock climbing with the Boy Scouts when I was twelve,” he said, via email.
“Growing up in the Seattle area made it easy to find like-minded friends and mentors and it’s been all uphill ever since, pushing me into more of the mountaineering and alpine climbing stuff,” he said. “I’m definitely a weekend warrior at this point in my life – if that – but I still have a genuine passion for not only the history and culture of climbing, but just getting outside and away from the desk.”
He came up with the Alpinist’s Alphabet design to use as a business card at Outdoor Retailer, the semi-annual outdoor industry tradeshow, but has since blown it up into posters available through his website.
The designs for individual letters are also available on baby cloths through Mountain Mama, a clothing company for new and expecting mothers.
He’s also working on similar graphical alphabets – know as “abecedaries” – for hikers, cyclists, paddlers and skiers, and hopes to offer them as posters this spring. “I’ll hopefully have a shirts available for sale then as well,” he said, “but we’ll see how it goes.”