There are many ways to engage a reader: You can hook them with a good first line; captivate them with an image; or earn their trust with decades of reliable information. But publishers and outdoor organizations must also do more to engage through representation, to provide everyone the opportunity to see themselves reflected and included in the books they read, the activities they enjoy, and the places they explore.

Cover of Adventure GapIn 2014, Mountaineers Books published The Adventure Gap by James Edward Mills, an account of the first all-African American expedition to climb Denali and a broader consideration of these questions of inclusion, belonging, and representation. In the decade since, Mountaineers Books has sought to depict an outdoors community for everyone and to highlight the accomplishments of athletes and explorers who historically may have been overlooked.

These are books like Sherpa, the biography of famed Nepali climber Ang Tharkay, or forthcoming titles (currently in production) on the stories and histories of Sherpa and Balti climbers. Books like Rising, Sharon Wood’s account of becoming the first North American woman to summit Everest, or diverse collections including Campfire Stories, Been Outside, and Valley of Giants, which create platforms for previously untold stories about places we love. Together, books like these work to create a natural and routine representation where every reader can find a hero who speaks to and inspires them.

Representation is not only about heroic achievements, it’s about the stories we choose to tell and the authors who tell them. Just as Mountaineers Books values the experience and local expertise of our authors, so too we value their voices and their identities. Representation is as important among our authors as it is among the athletes we spotlight. Readers should be able to envision themselves holding a pen just as easily as they envision themselves holding an ice axe.

Cover of How to Suffer OutsideAnother way that Mountaineers Books seeks to engage is by making the outdoors accessible to all, regardless of skill level or the need for arduous travel just to reach the trailhead. While our list has no shortage of advanced and highly technical guides, books like How to Suffer Outside or 24 Ways to Move More offer inspirational entry-points for beginners and never-evers. The Urban Trails series encourages hikers to explore the great nearby, with guides covering trails in Western urban areas that focus on close-in and transit-accessible excursions. All of these titles build a bridge from inspiration to participation, and transform first-time adventurers into future leaders and advocates.