Looking Back: Mountaineers Books' Year in Review

Mountaineers Books looks back at the fun we had in 2019, working with amazing authors and making books that contribute to making the world a better place.
Mountaineers Books Mountaineers Books
January 15, 2020

Happy New Year—and Happy New Decade! We wanted to take this opportunity, at the onset of the 2020s, to review the past year and all the books, authors, and impacts that we discovered and shared:

Mountaineers Books published 30 books of our own, as well as brought into the world additional titles from our exceptional distribution partners: Colorado Mountain Club, American Alpine Club, and Adventure Cycling Association. And right near the end of the year, we also began distributing the more than 150 maps published by Green Trails, a new and exciting partnership.

Heather Anderson, author of Thirst. Photo by Arlette Laan.

 

As a nonprofit publisher, our mission is to support appreciation for and stewardship of the outdoors, through environmental awareness and the rich and varied work of diverse outdoor voices. Last year got a badass jumpstart from Heather "Anish" Anderson and her book Thirst: 2600 Miles to Home. Heather is one of the nation’s top distance hikers and a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. As Heather recently shared, the impact of storytelling is powerful: “I had no idea what to expect going into this new role as an author, and I definitely didn't know how much I would grow by sharing my own story. I’m also getting messages daily from people who received my book for Christmas—so many people connecting with it in positive ways. I very much appreciate the entire staff at Mountaineers Books and their roles in making Thirst the success that it is!”

In fact, so much of what we do is about our authors, an ever-growing list of writers, photographers, artists, climbers, hikers, and more who open themselves up and share their amazing experiences.

It was also a joy to work with Dierdre Wolownick, Alex Honnold’s mom, on her book The Sharp End of Life, which tells the inspiring story of a woman finding her climbing passion later in life; and with Jeff Smoot whose climbing history, Hangdog Days, digs into a raucous period of rock climbing in the ’80s and ’90s that had not been previously documented so comprehensively.

Dierdre Wolownick, author of The Sharp End of Life, with son Alex Honnold

 

In fact, so much of what we do is about our authors, an ever-growing list of writers, photographers, artists, climbers, hikers, and more who open themselves up and share their amazing experiences. In 2019 that also included award-winning adventure photographer Corey Rich and his very personal yet stunning Stories Behind the Images; literary icon David Guterson, along with artist Justin Gibbens, who captured our imaginations with his “walking poem,” Turn Around Time; artist and educator Molly Hashimoto’s visual exploration of our avian brethren in bookseller favorite Birds of the West; the hilarious Brendan Leonard who explained with pithy charts and essays just why Bears Don’t Care About Your Problems; and Sarah Kaizar whose delicate yet detailed sketches of shelters on the Appalachian Trail are the centerpiece of Hiker Trash and the magic community of thru-hiking. We all have experienced the breathtaking work of nature, and these artists are capturing it in unique ways that help us connect with our own landscapes and memories.

Sharon Wood, author of Rising

 

This past year, we were also delighted to bring to readers the touching, often funny, and frequently heart-pumping memoirs from authors Robert Cocuzzo (The Road to San Donato: Fathers, Sons, and Cycling Across Italy), Sharon Wood (Rising: Becoming the First North American Woman on Everest), and Tom Walker (Wild Shots: A Photographer’s Life in Alaska). And then there were those titles that empower each of us to be the author of our own adventures: the guidebooks and instructional texts by skilled outdoors experts including Pete Whittaker (Crack Climbing), Topher Donahue (Rock Climbing Anchors), Nathan and Jeremy Barnes (Alpine Lakes Wilderness), Sandra Hinchman (Hiking Southwest Canyon Country), Lisa Maloney (Day Hiking Southcentral Alaska), Harley and Abby McAllister, Darcy Kitching, Morgan Sjogren, Michael Versteeg, and, of course, the amazing and prolific Craig Romano. John Soares and Scott Turner wrote the initial volumes—to the Redwoods, Joshua Tree, Zion, and Bryce Canyon National Parks—in our exciting new series, Hike the Parks.

The year also brought us several rewarding conservation partnerships including with the American Bird Conservancy to publish the gorgeous Bringing Back the Birds, by photographer Owen Deutsch. We continue to work with the Washington Environmental Council, to promote the health of Puget Sound with an impact campaign centered on the book, We Are Puget Sound. The Big Thaw, a significant look at climate research and the “carbon bomb” in our northern regions, was made possible by our collaboration with Woods Hole Research Center. Oregon’s Ancient Forests benefits the work of Oregon Wild, while The Salmon Way, by Amy Gulick, is supporting the work of Salmon State, the Alaska Wilderness League, and other partners. Each of these titles spotlights important conservation issues; with the help of their authors and partners, we can reach millions of Americans to educate and inspire action. 

Hikers enjoy the towering trees along the upper Middle Fork Willamette River Trail in Oregon's Ancient Forests. Photo by Janessa Dragovich.

 

As both readers and outdoor fans, the staff at Mountaineers Books is grateful to have worked with all of these talented people, who care so deeply about the outdoors. We believe that their stories, images, and ideas can create change—take someone on a hike, teach a kid to climb, or share an inspiring story, and the world becomes a more positive place. And now, we’re looking ahead at the next decade with hope and energy.

See you outside!