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Digital Subscriptions > Quill & Quire > October 2019 > Ascend To The Top

Ascend To The Top

How literary mountain books and their Canadian publishers are reaching the height of success

MANY READERS seem stuck on the idea that mountain literature must be like mountaineering itself, the raw-boned activity that spawned it around 175 years ago: difficult, frightening, and not for everyone. In fact, Canada’s mountain- related publishing is a growing genre – in both sales and sheer variety – that is steadily moving from regional importance toward international recognition.

This November, Rocky Mountain Books, the national leader in the category, will take a well-deserved bow in an evening dedicated to its 40th anniversary at the prestigious Banff International Mountain Film and Book Festival. RMB began life as a producer of guidebooks covering Alberta’s dramatic front ranges, thanks to a passionate pair of U.K.–born mountaineers, Gillean and Tony Daffern. The husband-and-wife team’s many guides soon became indispensable to a younger generation of explorers in what remains an extremely challenging environment. Getting adventurers out and back safely soon turned into both a noble calling and a decent business.

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