On Thursday, October 31, the winners of the 2013 Banff Mountain Book Festival were announced from a field of over 130 entries. Reviewers selected seven exemplary books for this year’s awards. With Christmas just around the corner, there is a book in the list that will fit the reading habits of any of your outdoors loving friends.
The Phyllis and Don Munday Award (grand prize) went to “On the Trail of Gengis Khan: An Epic Journey through the Land of Nomads,” by Tim Cope. Bloomsberry published the story of Cope’s epic 3 year, 6,000 mile trek across the steppes of Eurasia visiting and living among the nomadic people living there.
Harriet Pugh Tukey’s book “Everest: The First Ascent – How a Champion of Science Helped Conquer the Mountain” won the John Whyte Award (first prize) for Mountain and Wilderness Literature. In “Everest: The First Ascent,” Tukey elucidates her father Dr. Griffith Pugh’s contribution to the success of the 1953 ascent. Pugh was instrumental in developing the oxygen equipment used on this and later expeditions and contributed to early understanding of high altitude physiology and nutrition.
The James Monroe Thorington Award for Mountain History went to “The Conquest of Everest,” co-authored by George Lowe and Huw Lewis-Jones. George Lowe, who became ex – officio high altitude photographer on the 1953 ascent, passed away in March 2013, shortly after completing this compilation of historic images. Lewis-Jones helped Lowe organize the images in their historic context.
In the Adventure Travel category, “On the Trail of Genghis Khan: An Epic Journey through the Land of Nomads,” gave Tim Cope his second first prize.
“Patagonia Vertical,” by Rolando Garibatti and Dorte Pietron, won the award for Best Mountain Guidebook. This comprehensive guide that covers most of the climbs in this region of Western Argentina was published by the Slovinian publisher Sidartha.
The Mountain Image award was received by “Pamir: Forgotten on the Roof of the World.” Matthieu and Mareile Paley spent more than a decade chronicling the lives of the nomads of the Pamir Plateau of Afghanistan in images and words.
Due to an increasing number of non-fiction and poetry entries, there was a new category this year: Mountain Non-fiction and Poetry awards. Ron Rash’s collection of short stories, “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” was the first recipient of the award.
Also this year, due to the large number of quality entries, the judges opted to provide an extra Special Jury Award to “Alone on the Ice.” David Robert’s extensively researched history of the 1911-1913 Australian Antarctic Expedition brings the story of what Sir Edmund Hillary called “the greatest survival story never told” to audiences outside the land down under.