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About Bernadette McDonald
Bernadette McDonald, A.O.E., was the founder of the Banff Centre for Mountain Culture and has authored eleven books on mountain culture and mountaineering. Her work has been published in eighteen countries and has received many awards, including the Banff Grand Prize, the Boardman Tasker Award, Kekoo Naoroji Award and the American Alpine Club Award. She has received the Alberta Order of Excellence Award and the King Albert Award for her contributions to mountain culture. She is an honorary member of the Himalayan Club and the Polish Mountaineering Association, and has been appointed a fellow of the Explorers Club. When not writing, Bernadette climbs, skis, hikes, paddles and grows grapes.
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Titles By Bernadette McDonald
- Recounts some of the most dangerous feats in mountaineering history
- Insights into the human attraction to danger and suffering
- Award-winning author
While you wouldn’t expect climbing an 8000-meter peak in winter to be a popular activity, there have been 178 expeditions (as of 2019) to the Himalaya and Karakoram during the cruelest season to do just that. Polish alpinist, Voytek Kurtyka, termed the practice the "art of suffering." The stories here range from the French climber Elisabeth Revol’s solo winter attempt of Makalu, to American Cory Richards and his dramatic effort on Gasherbrum II with famed Italian alpinist Simone Moro and Kazakh hard man Denis Urubko. Award-winning author Bernadette McDonald traveled extensively to interview many of the climbers featured in this book--including Revol, the climbing partner of Tomek Mackiewicz, and Anna Mackiewicz, his widow, meeting them just a few months after Mackiewicz’s death on Nanga Parbat. McDonald’s many personal relationships with profiled climbers and her ability to tap into emotions and family histories lend Winter 8000 an intimacy too often lacking in mountaineering histories.
These accounts prove the point: Nature is not subservient to man.
Winner of the 2017 Banff Mountain Book Award for Mountain Literature (Non Fiction).
Winner of the 2017 Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature.
Winner of the National Outdoor Book Awards.
A profound and moving biography of one of the international climbing world's most respected, complicated and reclusive mountaineers.
Voytek Kurtyka remains one of the greatest alpinists of all time. Born in 1947, he was one of the leading lights of the Polish golden age of Himalayan climbing. His visionary approach to climbing resulted in many renowned ascents, such as the complete Broad Peak traverse, the “night naked” speed climbs of Cho Oyu and Shishapangma and, above all, the alpine-style ascent of the West Face of Gasherbrum IV. Dubbed the “climb of the century,” his route on G IV, as of 2016, has yet to be repeated. His most frequent climbing partners were alpine legends of their time: Polish Himalayan climber Jerzy Kukuczka, Swiss mountain guide Erhard Loretan and British alpinist Alex MacIntyre.
After repeated requests to accept the Piolet d’Or lifetime achievement award (the Academy Award of the climbing world), Kurtyka finally accepted the honour in the spring of 2016. A fiercely private individual, he continues to decline countless invitations for interviews, lectures and festival appearances, but has agreed to co-operate with internationally renowned and award winning Canadian author Bernadette McDonald on this long-awaited biography.
Certain to be a major event in the climbing world, Art of Freedom will appeal to all readers who dream of mountain landscapes and those who long to touch the sky.
CLICK HERE to download the first chapter from Freedom Climbers
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"One of the most important mountaineering books to be written for many years." —Boardman-Tasker Prize
See this book trailer for Freedom Climbers made by RMB Books, its publisher in Canada, where the cover is slightly different from the Mountaineers Books U.S. edition
* Behind the Iron Curtain, Cold War mountaineers found freedom on the world's highest peaks—and paid an awful price to achieve it
* Winner of the Boardman-Tasker Prize, Banff Grand Prize, and American Alpine Club Literary Award
Freedom Climbers tells the story of Poland's truly remarkable mountaineers who dominated Himalayan climbing during the period between the end of World War II and the start of the new millennium. The emphasis here is on their "golden age" in the 1980s and 1990s when, despite the economic and social baggage of their struggling country, Polish climbers were the first to tackle the world's highest mountains during winter, including the first winter ascents on seven of the world's fourteen 8000-meter peaks: Everest, Manaslu, Dhaulagiri, Cho Oyu, Kanchenjunga, Annapurna, and Lhotse. Such successes, however, came at a serious cost: 80 percent of Poland's finest high-altitude climbers died on the high mountains during the same period they were pursuing these first ascents.
Award-winning writer Bernadette McDonald addresses the social, political, and cultural context of this golden age, and the hardships of life under Soviet rule. Polish climbers, she argues, were so tough because their lives at home were so tough—they lost family members to World War II and its aftermath and were so much more poverty-stricken than their Western counterparts that they made much of their own climbing gear. While Freedom Climbers tells the larger story of an era, McDonald shares charismatic personal narratives such as that of Wanda Rutkiewicz, expected to be the first woman to climb all 8000-meter peaks until she disappeared on Kanchenjunga in 1992; Jerzy Kukuczka, who died in a fall while attempting the south face of Lhotse; and numerous other renowned climbers including Voytek Kurtyka, Artur Hajzer, Andrej Zawaka, and Krzysztof Wielicki.
This is a fascinating window into a different world, far-removed from modernity yet connected by the strange allure of the mountain landscape, and a story of inspiring passion against all odds.
This title is part of our LEGENDS AND LORE series. Click here > to learn more.
A book that invites you to slow down and explore the Okanagan Valley from a local’s point of view.
Whether it’s spying a rare canyon wren, cycling the historic Kettle Valley Railroad across heart-stopping trestle bridges, or hiking through fields of spring flowers, travel alongside the authors as they draw you into the exquisite, unforgettable experience of savouring one of Canada’s most beautiful destinations.
Generously offering a compilation of the Okanagan Valley’s best food, drink, and recreation spots, Okanagan Slow Road reveals treasured local culinary secrets: crusty double-baked bread from rural bakeries, lavender-infused pepper from hillside farms, and dark red cherries from bountiful orchards. And, of course, the world-renowned wines—after all, what would delicious local food be without famous vintages from the unique Okanagan terroir?
First published in 2014, this completely updated edition of Okanagan Slow Road includes a list of the many wineries worth visiting as well as a list of the area’s farmers’ markets.
In August, 2005, Tomaž Humar was trapped on a narrow ledge at 5900 metres on the formidable Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat. He had been attempting a new route, directly up the middle of the highest mountain face in the world - solo. After six days he was out of food, almost out of fuel and frequently buried by avalanches. Three helicopters were poised for a brief break in the weather to pluck him off the mountain. Because of the audacity of the climb, the fame of the climber, the high risk associated with the rescue, and the hourly reports posted on his base-camp website, the world was watching. Would this be the most spectacular rescue in climbing history? Or a tragic - and very public - death in the mountains?
Years before, as communism was collapsing and the Balkans slid into chaos, Humar was unceremoniously conscripted into a dirty war that he despised, where he observed brutal and inhumane atrocities that disgusted him. Finally he did the unthinkable: he left and finally arrived home in what had become a new country - Slovenia.
He returned to climbing, and within very few years, he was among the best in the world. Reinhold Messner, among others, called him the most remarkable mountain climber of his generation. His routes are seldom repeated; most consider them to be suicidal; yet he often climbs them solo. As this book was being written, he achieved the first-ever solo ascent of the east summit of Annapurna.
Tomaž Humar has cooperated with Bernadette McDonald, the distinguished former director of the Banff Festival and author of several books on mountaineering, to tell his utterly remarkable story.