Alpinist is pleased to announce that Nick Bullock’s feature article, “Threshold Shift,” is one of the finalists for the Banff Mountain Book Competition’s Mountaineering Article Award. Bullock’s piece, which first appeared in Alpinist 57, recounts his first ascent of the North Buttress of Nyainqentangla Southeast with Paul Ramsden in 2016, and Bullock’s subsequent return from Tibet to England to help his aging father. Back home, Bullock confronts the death of his mother, the loss of climbing friends and the uncertainties of Brexit. Bullock’s article begins:
I never much thought of the danger when I started all those years ago. I never imagined the pain, the grief. Heroic…. I was indestructible…. I saw myself breaking shackles, becoming free…. But I was naive. In my defense, it’s difficult to see the pain when you don’t really value what you have at the time. It’s easy to make light. Life is cheap, and time is a giveaway. But of course, life is never cheap, and time goes one way only. Entropy.
A full list of finalists for this and other Banff Mountain Book Competition Awards can be found here.
The Mountaineering Article Award premiered in 2015 at The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, where Ed Douglas won for his Alpinist 49 feature, “Crazy Wisdom,” about the lives of Nepali expedition workers and low-altitude porters, who are often left out of mountaineering histories. The following year, Maya Prabhu’s article “Notes from the Frontier,” became a finalist for the same award. Prabhu’s article, which appeared in Issue 54, featured stories of the “HimAlpinists,” a group of Indian climbers who are experimenting with fast and light climbing styles and philosophies on the Himalayan peaks within their country.
This year’s prize will again be awarded at the festival, which runs from October 28 to November 5 at the Banff Centre in Alberta.
More accolades for Alpinist writers
In other news, David Stevenson’s essay, “A Late and Uninvited Correspondent Responds to Maggie Nelson’s Bluets,” which first appeared in Alpinist 56, has also made the “Notables List” for The Best American Essays 2017, edited by Leslie Jamison and Robert Atwan. In this piece, inspired by Maggie Nelson, Stevenson writes a meditation on the color blue–and the vast array of feelings associated with it–from base camp on Denali’s Ruth Glacier. Last year, Chris Van Leuven’s Alpinist 51 article “Going Home” was selected for inclusion in the 2016 Best American Sports Writing anthology, and Alpinist Editor-in-Chief Katie Ives’s Issue 49 Sharp End also made the Notables List.