Banff Mountain Book Competition Announces 2017 Finalists

Tommy Caldwell, John Long, Bernadette McDonald and Jim Herrington are among the finalists in the 2017 Banff Mountain Book Competition.

By Tobey Schmidt | September 29th, 2017

Photo Courtesy of Banff Mountain Book Competition.
Photo Courtesy of Banff Mountain Book Competition.

In celebration of mountain literature, poetry and photography, the annual Banff Mountain Book Competition, a program of the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, has released its long list of finalists for the best books and articles of the year.

Finalists were chosen in seven categories including Adventure Travel, Mountain Fiction and Poetry, Mountain Literature (non-fiction), Mountain Environment and Natural History, Mountain Image, Guidebooks and Mountaineering Article.

The competition awards over $16,000 between eight category winners, selected by an international jury of writers, adventurers and editors. Category finalists are also in the running for the Mountaineering History Award and the grand prize Phyllis and Don Munday Award of $4,000, sponsored by the Alpine Club of Canada. Winner of the grand price will be announced Thursday, November 2, 2017 at the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival in Banff, Canada.

This year’s jury is comprised of Mayan Smith-Gobat, David Stevenson and Ian Welsted. Smith-Gobat is a professional climber from New Zealand, who wants to continue pushing her climbing limits, developing new routes and inspiring others through writing and multi-media presentations. Stevenson is the author of two mountaineering books, book review editor of The American Alpine Journal, a professor of English and a 2014 winner for Fiction at the Banff Mountain Book Competition. Welsted is an alpine climber who has established first ascents and taken expeditions throughout Alaska, Nepal, Patagonia and Pakistan, is the recipient of the 2014 Piolets d’Or mountaineering award and now shares his love of the mountain world through writing and guiding.

This year, Rock and Ice senior contributing editor John Long made the long list of finalists in the Mountaineering Article category for his Gravity article that was published in Rock and Ice issue 238 (November 2016). Gravity tells the story of an experience Long had while climbing the Salathé Wall in Yosemite as a teenager, when he saw a young man fall past him, 3,000 off of El Capitan to the base of the Dawn Wall, only to meet that man’s climbing partner 40 years later for breakfast.

The complete long list of finalists in all categories follows, from the Banff Centre Website:


Adventure Travel

 The Man Who Climbs Trees James Aldred, Ebury Press, Penguin Random House (UK, 2017)

The Names of the Stars Pete Fromm, St. Martin’s Press (USA, 2016)

Rowing the Northwest Passage Kevin Vallely, Greystone Books (CAN, 2017)

Stories from the Dirt: Indiscretions of an Adventure Junkie John Long, Globe Pequot (USA, 2017)

Walking the Americas Levison Wood, Hodder & Stoughton (UK, 2017)


Mountain Fiction & Poetry

Ice Mountain: An Elegy Dave Bonta, Phoenicia Publishing (CAN, 2017)

In Case I Go Angie Abdou, Arsenal Pulp Press (CAN, 2017)

Rising Abruptly: Stories Gisèle Villeneuve, University of Alberta Press (CAN, 2016)


Mountain Literature – Non-Fiction

Art of Freedom: The Life and Climbs of Voytek Kurtyka Bernadette McDonald, Rocky Mountain Books (CAN, 2017)

 Karakorum: Climbing Through the Kashmir Conflict Steve Swenson, Mountaineers Books (USA, 2017)

My Old Man and the Mountain: A Memoir Leif Whittaker, Mountaineers Books (USA, 2017)

On Trails: An Exploration Robert Moor,Simon & Schuster (USA, 2016)

The Push: A Climber’s Journey of Endurance, Risk, and Going Beyond Limits Tommy Caldwell, Viking Books (USA, 2017)


Mountain Environment and Natural History

Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens Steve Olson, W.W. Norton & Company (USA, 2016)

The Peace in Peril: The Real Cost of the Site C Dam Christopher Pollon, Harbour Publishing (CAN, 2016)

Tracking Gobi Grizzlies Douglas Chadwick, Patagonia Books (USA, 2016)


Mountain Image

The Climbers Jim Herrington, Mountaineers Books (USA, 2017)

The Edge of the World The Editors of Outside Magazine, Globe Pequot (USA, 2017)

Racconto D’Inverno – Eine Wintererzaehlung Albert Ceolan (ITA, 2016)



Chasing the Ephemeral: 50 Routes for a Successful Scottish Winter Simon Richardson, Mica Publishing (UK, 2016)

Haines Pass Backcountry Skiing Claude Vallier, Yukon Backcountry Skiing (CAN, 2017)

Skiing the Balkans Dimitar Dimitrov, XCoPublishing OOD (BGR, 2017)

Ski Touring and Snowshoeing in the Dolomites James Rushforth, Cicerone Press (UK, 2017)

Squamish Hiking Marc Bourdon, Quickdraw Publications (CAN, 2017)


Mountaineering Article

Gravity John Long, Rock and Ice Magazine (USA, November 2016)

The Pleasure and Pain of the Climbing Life Kelly Cordes, The New York Times (USA, November 2016)

Poumaka Angie Payne, Sidetracked (UK, October 2016)

Threshold Shift Nick Bullock, Alpinist (USA, February 2017)

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