The mountain festival scene could be a little suspect. Like ski resorts, they are hardly wilderness experiences — the very thing that most of us are seeking in the mountains. But one festival in particular has always taken a serious, respectful look at the mountain life and culture and celebrates it through much more than just film, making it worth our attention in terms of how we look at mountain wilderness.
At the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival held in Banff, Alberta, everyone knows of the film competition. After the awards are distributed, the festival tours throughout North America. However, the festival is much more than just the movies. It also includes mountain arts and crafts, gear trade show, photography exhibits and competition, presentations by the climbers and artists, and — my favorite part — the Banff Mountain Book Competition.
For the English speaking and reading world in mountaineering, there is nothing equivalent to the exclusive honor brought by The Banff Mountain Book Competition, which has been building a solid reputation over the last 18 years.
Nominations for the competition are collected early in the year in several categories: 1) Adventur Travel; 2) Guidebooks; 3) Mountain and Wilderness Literature; 4) Mountain Image; and 5) Mountaineering History. The awards are not enormous sums. They are rather modest in value: $2,000 CA for the Grand Prize and $1,000 CA for most other categories. Receiving the award is more about the title, dignity and respect, especially coming from these judges.
Three judges will decide on who wins best book in each category as well as the Grand Prize, sponsored by the Alpine Club of Canada. This year, the judges will be Katie Ives, the accomplished American mountain writer and editor of Alpinist magazine, Baiba Marrow, Canadian world mountain traveler and story teller, and David Pickford, who is from the United Kingdom and is a climber and editor-in-chief of Climb magazine.
The festival is hosted annually by the Banff Centre and begins this year on Saturday, October 29th and runs through Sunday, November 6th. The book competition winners will be awarded at an event on Thursday, November 3rd. Click here to see the finalists.