Mountain Book Competition

2020 Banff Mountain Book Competition Award Winners

2020 Banff Mountain Book Competition Award Winners


The 2021 Banff Mountain Book Competition is now open!

Entry Form

2021 Mountain Book Competition Rules and Regulations

ENTRY DEADLINE: Wednesday, June 30, 2021.

Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival celebrates mountain literature, film, and photography, bringing together filmmakers, writers, publishers, editors, photographers, athletes, adventurers, and - of course - readers.  Featuring film screenings, guest speakers, readings, seminars and book signings, the Festival offers a wide spectrum of experiences for the mountain film and book-loving audience.

As a key program of Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival, the Book Competition is an internationally recognized literary competition that celebrates mountain literature in all its forms.  Over $20,000 in cash is awarded annually with 8 awards selected by an international jury of writers, adventurers and editors.  The short list of category award winners eligible for the Grand Prize is announced in October every year.  In 2021, the Grand Prize will be announced on Thursday, November 4 at the Festival and category awards will be presented to winning authors.

Questions? Call the Banff Mountain Book Competition at: 403.762.6347

or email:

2020 Grand Prize & Award Winners

Book Competition Categories

Prizes will be awarded in each of the following categories:
(Please note: books written primarily for children and young adults are not suitable for this competition.)

Adventure Travel

Non-fiction books with a theme of travel to, and exploration of, remote and/or rugged landscapes and their cultures. 

Mountain Fiction & Poetry

Includes fiction and poetry books with a focus on mountain topics. Creative narratives about climbing and mountaineering, exploration and mountain culture are acceptable. 


Non-fiction books dealing with physical activities in mountain environments; including hiking, climbing, mountaineering and "how-to" books. 

Mountain Image

Includes books with a primary focus on mountain images and with text in a subordinate role. Images may include photographs or reproductions of artwork. 

Mountaineering Article

Articles or short form essays with mountaineering, climbing or mountain adventure themes under 7,000 words. Articles may be fiction, historical or non-fiction narratives and are invited to be submitted by publishers and editors of print publications, not by individual authors. Articles must have been printed within the last two years to qualify for submission. Scholastic, research or scientific articles will not be accepted. Please email us for more information on submission guidelines. 

View FAQ for more information (pdf) 

Mountain Environment & Natural History

Books that pertain to the mountain environment, specifically related to flora, fauna, geology and wildlife.  Scholastic, research or scientific articles will not be accepted.

Mountain Literature

Includes non-fiction books, such as memoirs, biographies and narratives on mountaineering, climbing history, mountain exploration, mountain culture, and human experiences of any kind in the mountain wilderness. 

Climbing Literature

All titles that are longlisted and have a theme of climbing are eligible for this award. 

Grand Prize

Awarded to a book chosen from the winners in the above categories.

2020 Category Finalists

2020 Banff Mountain Book Competition - Category Finalists  

We are pleased to announce the long list of category finalists alphabetically by title in each award category.

2020 Award Winners

Mountain Literature
$2000 - Sponsored by the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies

Emilio Comici: Angel of the Dolomites
David Smart, Rocky Mountain Books (Canada, 2020)

Himalaya: A Human History
Ed Douglas, The Bodley Head, Vintage (UK, 2020)

Raven’s Witness: The Alaska Life of Richard K. Nelson
Hank Lentfer, Mountaineers Book (USA, 2020)

Winter 8000: Climbing the World’s Highest Mountains in the Coldest Season
Bernadette McDonald, Mountaineers Books (USA, 2020)/ Vertebrate Publishing (UK, 2020)

Mountain Fiction & Poetry
$2000 - Sponsored by the Town of Banff

The Bear
Andrew Krivak, Bellevue Literary Press (USA, 2020)

Black Car Burning
Helen Mort, Chatto & Windus (UK, 2019)

Sky Dance
John Burns, Vertebrate Publishing (UK, 2019)

Mountain Environment and Natural History
$2000 – Sponsored by Canadian Mountain Network

Talking with Bears: Conversations with Charlie Russell
Gay Bradshaw, Rocky Mountain Books (Canada, 2020)

Tahoma and Its People: A Natural History of Mount Rainier National Park
Jeff Antonelis-Lapp, Washington State University Press (USA, 2020)

Wild Himalaya: A Natural History of the Greatest Mountain Range on Earth
Stephen Alter, Aleph Book Company (India, 2019)

Adventure Travel
$2000 - World Expeditions

The Adventurer’s Son
Roman Dial, HarperCollins Publishers (USA, 2020)

Blue Sky Kingdom: An Epic Family Journey to the Heart of Himalaya
Bruce Kirkby, Douglas & McIntyre (Canada, 2020)

Journeys North: The Pacific Crest Trail
Barney Mann, Mountaineers Books (USA, 2020)

Labyrinth of Ice: The Triumphant and Tragic Greely Polar Expedition
Buddy Levy, St. Martin’s Press (USA, 2019)

Mountain Image

Climbing Rock
Francois Lebeau and Jesse Lynch, Rizzoli New York (USA, 2019)

At Glacier’s End
Chris Burkard, Chris Burkard Studio (USA, 2019)

The Wild Coasts of Canada
Scott Forsyth, Rocky Mountain Books (Canada, 2019)

$2000 – Sponsored by the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides

Crack Climbing: The Definitive Guide
Pete Whittaker, Vertebrate Publishing (UK, 2020)/ Mountaineers Books (USA, 2020)

Down: The Complete Descent Manual for Climbers
Andy Kirkpatrick (Ireland, 2019)

Hard Rock
Ian Parnell, Vertebrate Publishing (UK, 2020)

Mountaineering Article
$2000 – Sponsored by the University of Alberta and the Alpine Club of Canada

Denali, A Universe
Jan Harper-Haines, Alpinist Magazine (USA, September 2019)

Leper Chai
Jeff Long, Rock & Ice Magazine (USA, March 2020)

Melting Giants
Benjamin Ribeyre and Erin Smart, Alpinist Magazine (USA, November 2019)

Climbing Literature
$2000 - Sponsored by RMB - Rocky Mountain Books

All titles that are shortlisted in the categories above that have a theme of climbing are eligible for this award.

Grand Prize - The Phyllis and Don Munday Award
$4000 – Sponsored by Rab

The shortlist of category award winners eligible for the Grand Prize will be announced in mid-October.

2020 Banff Mountain Competition category award winners will be announced in October and presentations will be part of our virtual festival October 31 – November 8.  The Grand Prize will be announced Thursday November 5th.

Book Competition Sponsors:

Rab Logo ACMG logoAlpine club of canada logo


 Logo for Canadian Mountain NetworkLogo for Rocky Mountain Books. World Expeditions Logo

Logo for Whyte MuseumTown of Banff LogoU of A logo