This report is both sad and happy.
On the sad side the Mountain Image Award went to a super-massive book of color photographs of the Alps. They were taken from an ultra-light motor-glider flown by a Slovenian biologist and mountaineer Matevz Lenarcic (approximate transcription—the name copies as Matevc Lenar i ). The style of his photography is very unlike the austerity of Brad Washburn, the full page presentation of his photographs is totally different from our white-border formality, and his primary aim is environmental advocacy whereas my style might be called photographic introspection. In short, comparing his book and mine is almost impossible. The book is described as “a gesture on a grand scale”, “a mountain manifesto and a call to arms.”
On the happy side I had a wonderful time listening to presentations and signing books. The presentations included Steve Winter’s account of photographing the snow leopard for National Geographic. A six month quest in several Himalayan regions, some familiar to me, yielded superb images. Steve House read from his new autobiography (Adventure Travel Award). Climber and artist Renan Oxturk described an epic ascent of the great wall of Mount Meru in the Indian Himalaya. The climbers, Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin and Ozturk, planned for 10 days — the climb took 17days; they lost a lot of weight. When finally they made their superlight summit attempt on the fin-like ridge, the ascent was stopped by a non-negotiable gendarme: so near and yet so far. Amongst the book signers was David Roberts with his new biography of Brad Washburn (Mountaineering History Award.) The book signing allowed many opportunities to chat. The picture shows me with Steve Winter. Finally, I did win something — a spontaneous blessing: a very nice down jacket at a reception sponsored by a group working to preserve an area adjacent to the Banff National Park.
The Banff Center is a great place. I was there over 30 years ago to speak to a biochemistry conference. It was a lot smaller then. I could see a bit of a mountain from my room (as a finalist, complementary), but the dining room gives a three quarters panorama. My dedicated publishers, Gail and Charles Fields, were at the meeting to work on book promotion, but the fringe benefit was that they were up at 5 am each morning to go out and photograph. By the Sunday of our departure they had the back roads well worked out. On the Sunday we set out in pitch darkness and, despite very icy roads, we were at Lake Louise in time for the sunrise. This photo was taken on a back road. The flight from Calgary was at 2 pm. I was home by 1:30 am.