2017 Banff Mountain Book Competition Awards

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Adventure Travel

$2000 - Sponsored by Fjällräven

The Names of the Stars

Pete Fromm, St. Martin's Press (USA, 2016)

"A deep meditation resulting from a month in the Montana wilderness, The Names of the Stars conveys the calm that solitary time grants us.  Pete Fromm uses his isolation in a Forest Service cabin, with a daily routine of walking a ten mile loop to monitor hatching fish eggs, to share his thoughts.  How does his life as a married father of two compare to his youthful discovery of his love of wild places?  Surrounded by ever-present wildlife, how could he share his passion with his sons?  With delightfully straightforward prose, the author portrays his small corner of the natural world.  Through repetition and carefully observed detail we share in the experience of a life well considered.  Neither of Mr. Fromm's sons were lucky enough to share his cabin, but through this wonderful manuscript both we, and they, go along for the journey."

Ian Welsted, 2017 Book Competition Jury

Mountain Fiction & Poetry

$2000 - Sponsored by Deuter

Rising Abruptly: Stories

Gisèle Villeneuve, University of Alberta Press (CAN, 2016)

"The narrator of 'Assiniboine Crossing', one of the seven stories collected here, observes: "Even the unassuming day trips deliver their moments."  The stories, too are unassuming, quiet even.  The worlds they portray are at once familiar and fresh: we know them but have never quite viewed them through Villeneuve's lens.  And, "the moments"?  The author delivers them: glinting shards of glass scattered throughout her fields."

David Stevenson, 2017 Book Competition Jury

Mountain Literature (Non Fiction) The Jon Whyte Award

$2000 - Sponsored by The Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies

Art of Freedom: The Life and Climbs of Voytek Kurtyka

Bernadette McDonald, Rocky Mountain Books (CAN, 2017)

"Art of Freedom beautifully portrays the life, values, and ascents of one of the most incredible mountaineers in history.  McDonald seamlessly interweaves gripping accounts of Voytek's minimalistic climbing expeditions, with his thoughtful approach and almost poetic philosophies on life, in a way which gives the reader deep insights into who this man is."

Mayan Smith-Gobat, 2017 Book Competition Jury

Mountain Environment and Natural History

$2000 - Sponsored by Backroad Mapbooks

Tracking Gobi Grizzlies

Douglas Chadwick, Patagonia Books (USA, 2016)

"Over five years Douglas Chadwick and a dedicated crew tracked these rarest of bears, the Gobi grizzlies, through the harshest Mongolian landscapes.  He returned with this hard-earned testament, evidence that he has remained faithful to his self-imposed directive: 'Keep working to fix what's broken'.  Both survival story and cautionary tale, Chadwick provides a sliver of hope, not only for the bears but for all of us."

David Stevenson, 2017 Book Competition Jury

Mountain Image

$2000 - Sponsored by Lake O'Hara Lodge

Racconto D'Inverno - Eine Wintererzählung

Albert Ceolan (ITA, 2016)

"Stunning and beautifully laid out images which flow seamlessly into each other, taking the reader on a journey through the different aspects of winter...from quite untouched beauty, to quirky, humorous ice formations.  A work of art which has already found a permanent place on my coffee table!"

Mayan Smith-Gobat, 2017 Book Competition Jury


$2000 - Sponsored by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides

Chasing the Ephemeral: 50 Routes for a Successful Scottish Winter

Simon Richardson, Mica Publishing (UK, 2016)

"Heard that Scotland is the birthplace of mixed climbing, the last bastion of naturally protected dry-tooling, a challenge to even the best world-travelling masters?  Considered a visit but scared off by the notoriously fickle routes and the abysmal weather?  Quintessential local (though, truth be told, an Englishman), Simon Richardson has the solution.  Organized into conditions-dependent groupings, Chasing the Ephemeral will get you to 50 classic routes when they are 'in nick'.  Full of co;our action photos, local lore, and essential beta, there is no excuse for missing out on one of the best winter climbing venues on the planet.  Just remember, the locals won't consider it a valid ascent if your photos aren't white, so shoot from the top down.  Here's to a Successful Scottish Winter."

Ian Welsted, 2017 Book Competition Jury

Mountaineering Article

$2000 - Sponsored by the University of Alberta and the Alpine Club of Canada

Threshold Shift

Nick Bullock, Alpinist Magazine (USA, February 2017)

"A threshold shift is the ear's defense against loud noise; Nick Bullock's years of experience defend his mind from registering the mortal hazard he and his compatriots face, and all too commonly perish from, in the mountains.  Equally, a life climbing and writing has insulated Nick from the 'rush and push and strain...(and) disappointment' of a more traditional lifestyle.  Elevating moments from a first ascent in Nepal contrast with the difficult final journey Nick makes with his aging widower father.  In spite of a life spent in search of 'something better' through climbing he realizes he shares traits with the old men he swore he would never become.  Not a lighthearted tale, it addresses mortality with on honesty which must be admired.  Breathtakingly written, Threshold Shift is on a different frequency from what passes as climbing writing in today's social media feed."

Ian Welsted, 2017 Book Competition Jury

Mountaineering History

$2000 - Sponsored by Sherpa Adventure Gear

The Climbers

Jim Herrington, Mountaineers Books (USA, 2017)

"Representing the fruits of a twenty-year photographic quest, Jim Herrington's stunning black and white portraits of climbing luminaries of the mid-20th century confer a quiet dignity on their aging subjects.  He has somehow managed to capture in their eyes the visionary zeal of their youthful climbs.  The photographer's tone might be summarized in a single word: respect, and you can't help feel that in the best of these shots something like the climber's soul has been revealed."

David Stevenson, 2017 Book Competition Jury

Special Mention

The Push: A Climber's Journey of Endurance, Risk, and Going Beyond Limits

Tommy Caldwell, Viking Books (USA, 2017)

"In The Push, Tommy Caldwell gives the reader an honest and heartfelf view into his life and what shaped him to become of the world's best climbers.  A riveting book, which I found hard to put down, will appeal to climbers and non-climbers alike."

Mayan Gobat-Smith, 2017 Book Competition Jury