Banff Mountain Book Festival Announces Finalists

If you’re an adventurous bookworm, check out the Banff Mountain Book Festival’s 2022 finalists.

The annual competition, part of The Banff Centre’s Mountain Film and Book Festival, celebrates mountain literature, film, and photography from around the world. The book side of the festival distributes $20,000 annually between eight category winners and one Grand Prize winner.

Finalists include the following three books, chosen at random from among the 28 entries on the docket.

“Imaginary Peaks: The Riesenstein Hoax and Other Mountain Dreams”

In Katie Ives’ 2021 book, the former editor of Alpinist explores the beckoning effect that blank areas on the map create. She begins with the famous case of a fake mountain range in British Columbia. Her investigations explore the endless thirst in climbing for first ascents and new peaks.

It’s up for the $2,500 Mountain Literature award.

Pages: 304
Publisher: Mountaineers Books
Price: $27


PHMuseum calls Javier Corso and Alex Rodal’s enigmatic book an “object” that “synthesizes the full history of the Matagi community”. What’s that? A lineage of controversial bear-hunting clans that’s been active in Japan since the Middle Ages. Multiple ways to read it exist, according to PHMuseum.

To some measurable degree, the book defies conventional description. It could win the $2,500 Mountain Image award.

“Lost in the Valley of Death”

An American backpacker disappeared in India in 2016. He never re-appeared, and the incident remains unresolved. Justin Alexander Shetler traveled there to undertake the teachings of a sadhu, an Indian holy man. He lived and meditated in a cave until, accompanied by the sadhu, he embarked on a pilgrimage to a holy lake from which he never returned.

“By patient accumulation of anecdote and detail, Rustad evolves Shetler’s story into something much more human, and humanly tragic, into a layered inquisition and a reportorial force…Suffice it to say Rustad has done what the best storytellers do: tried to track the story to its last twig and then stepped aside,” The New York Times Book Review said.

Pages: 304
Publisher: Harper
Price: $18

It stands to win the $2,500 Adventure Travel category. Other categories include awards for guidebooks and mountaineering articles. View the full gamut at The Banff Centre’s website.

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson takes any writing assignments he can talk his way into while intermittently traveling the American West and Mexico in search of margaritas — er, adventure. He parlayed a decade of roving trade work into a life of fair-weather rock climbing and truck dwelling before (to his parents’ evident relief) finding a way to put his BA in English to use. Sam loves animals, sleeping outdoors, campfire refreshments and a good story.