Whether you're looking for a friend or yourself, there are a host of new, award-winning, outdoor books for backcountry bibliophiles. Choose from history, guidebooks, narratives, photography, or other genres. And, share your personal favorites below.
In a half century, Freedom of the Hills has had half-a-million copies sold, making it the all-time bestselling mountaineering and climbing title. Now in its eighth edition, it's available in hard or softcover, or as a PDF eBook download from The Mountaineers.
Or make your gear multitask. Get the companion Freedom of the Hills Deck of playing cards and brush up on your avalanche rescue or show shelter skills while playing hearts.
Banff Mountain Festival Book Winners
The annual Banff Mountain Festival's Book Winners are always worth a look. Select one for a friend from the 2010 winners below, or find your own copy.
Grand Prize & Mountaineering History
The Stonemasters: California Climbing in the Seventies by John Long and Dean Fidelman
Through historical photos and personal anecdotes, The Stonemasters chronicles the rise of a small band of Southern Californians and their impact on climbing and climbing culture in North America.
Walking Home: A Traveler in the Alaskan Wilderness, a Journey into the Human Heart by Lynn Schooler
In 2007, Juneau resident Schooler set off first by small boat and then on foot on a challenging solo walk along one of the wildest coastlines in North America. (I want to read this one.)
McLane's guidebook identifies more than 1,200 rock climbing routes from Squamish to Lake Louise to the Ghost River Valley.
Running Dry: A Journey from Source to Sea Down the Colorado River by Jon Waterman
Waterman chronicles his 2008 trip down the entire, overtaxed, drying Colorado River, combining adventure with environmental concern. Watch a video interview with Waterman below.
Polar Obsession by Paul Nicklen
National Geographic photographer Nicklen documents of the lives of leopard seals, whales, walruses, polar bears, bearded seals, and narwhals in what looks like a beautiful, large-format book. This one is on my wish list.
Watch the video below of Nicklen describing his encounter with a leopard seal in Antarctic waters.
Special Jury Mention
The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Vaillant
It's the true story of a showdown between a Russian poacher and a man-eating Siberian tiger, and the politics, socioeconomics, and conservation choices that led to that encounter.