2022 Banff Mountain Book Award Winners Announced

The Banff Mountain Book Competition just released its 2022 award winners, offering readers a curated list of great new books in adventure and mountain exploration.

The competition awards $20,000 in cash every year, divided among eight individual awards. They include mountain literature (non-fiction), mountain fiction and poetry, environmental literature, adventure travel, mountain image, guidebook, mountain article, and climbing literature.

You can see the winners of those categories below, but you’ll have to wait until November 3 to find out the Grand Prize winner, which will be announced at the Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival.

An international panel of judges chose the winning books below from 28 finalists. Overall, the competition received 166 book submissions, with authors from 11 countries.

We’ve included a selection of the winners below (with links to where to find information on each one). Go here for the full list, which also includes special mentions, and the best guidebook, mountain article, and mountain image.

2022 winners: Literature

Mountain Literature (non-fiction) – The Jon Whyte Award
The Fox of Glencoe
Hamish MacInnes, Scottish Mountaineering Press (UK, 2021)

“‘Few people cram as much into a lifetime as Hamish did,’ editor Deziree Wilson writes. Spanning nine decades of life, The Fox of Glencoe is a deftly edited tribute to the late Scottish mountaineer Hamish MacInnes, highlighting the legacy of a dedicated and talented polymath. MacInnes was a climber, writer, explorer, mountain rescuer, film safety advisor, and inventor. Wilson has artfully arranged his understated, humorous, and self-deprecating writings and breathed new life into Scottish mountaineering history, literature, and culture.”

– Natalie Berry, 2022 Book Competition Jury

Environmental Literature
Northern Light: Power, Land, and the Memory of Water
Kazim Ali, Milkweed Editions (U.S., 2022), Goose Lane Editions (Canada, 2022)

“Northern Light is the story of a queer Muslim poet, the son of political refugees from India, who travels back to his childhood home in northern Manitoba to revisit the Pimicikamak people whose way of life was ravaged by the dam his father helped build. While that sounds like a logline from a film adaptation of a book of literary fiction, Northern Light is very much nonfiction and a deeply grounded exercise in straightforward reporting.”

– Chris Kalman, 2022 Book Competition Jury

Climbing Literature
Valley of Giants: Stories from Women at the Heart of Yosemite Climbing
Lauren DeLaunay Miller, Mountaineers Books (U.S., 2022)

“A much-needed anthology, this book highlights the stories of women in Yosemite from 1930 to the present. The contributions come from a wide range of climbers, a world-renowned soloist, a mother, a microbiologist, a daughter, a tribe member, a quiet expert, and a first-time climber. Some stories are already famous, others are previously untold, but all add a fresh perspective to the lore of the valley. The stories build on one another, each one lends depth and history to the next, and when combined, they show how voices are strongest when they join together.”

– Claire Cameron, 2022 Book Competition Jury

2022 winners: Fiction & Travel

Mountain Fiction & Poetry
Native Air
Jonathan Howland, Green Writers Press (U.S., 2022)

“I think of a classic climb as one where, after topping out, I immediately want to climb it again. I’ve read this novel, a story about two best friends who are also climbing partners, twice so far. The first time I became lost in the complexity of the relationships, the heartbreak, the full love, and the bid for repair. The second time I read it for the technical precision, the tension of incomplete ambitions, and the unbearably elegant structure. This novel is a classic. It will be read and loved again and again.”

– Claire Cameron, 2022 Book Competition Jury

Adventure Travel
A Year in the Woods: Twelve Small Journeys into Nature
Torbjørn Ekelund, Greystone Books (Canada, 2021)

“Whether you love or hate Henry David Thoreau, chances are, you would approach a self-described “Walden for modern times” with some degree of skepticism. I certainly did. I wasn’t sure Walden was outdated yet. Do we really need a new one? After reading this book, I have to say yes, we do. A Year in the Woods offers us a clear and tangible alternative to the often oversaturated way we tend to think about adventure and adventurers. You don’t have to summit K2 to plumb the depths of the human soul or endure a twenty-day silent meditation retreat to get in touch with your inner child. There is so much to gain by setting simple achievable goals and seeing them through—especially when the goal is to take a short walk into the woods, sit around, and see what you see.”

– Chris Kalman, 2022 Book Competition Jury

Andrew McLemore

An award-winning journalist and photographer, Andrew McLemore brings more than 14 years of experience to his position as Associate News Editor for Lola Digital Media. Andrew is also a musician, climber and traveler who currently lives in Medellin, Colombia. When he’s not writing, playing gigs or exploring the outdoors, he’s hanging out with his dog Campana.