Australian adventurer Tim Cope was a novice rider when he set out on a 2,000 km horseback journey across the Eurasian steppes. Interested in experiencing the nomadic way of life, he travelled for three years through Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, and Hungary. His book on the journey, On the Trail of Genghis Khan: An Epic Journey Through the Land of the Nomads (Bloomsbury, USA, 2013), has been awarded the Grand Prize at the 2013 Banff Mountain Book Competition.

Tim Cope

Tim Cope

Chosen by an international jury from a shortlist of six finalists, the book is described as “a narrative full of romance, history, and drama that ultimately celebrates the nomadic way of life – its freedom, its closeness to the land, its animals, and moods.”

“From the extreme weather conditions and landscape, to holing up in a gold-mining town for more than three months, countering with the seemingly limitless hospitality of the tribes of the Eurasian steppe, Cope relays both the history and current state of this vast and changing area, as well as his experiences and how they altered him, in a way that’s impactful and original,” said jury member Anik See. “Most would say this was the journey of a lifetime, but it appears that writer and adventure traveller Tim Cope has at least nine lives, and we look forward to reading about each and every one of them.”

The 2013 jury included Canadian adventurer, writer, and photographer Bruce Kirkby, Netherlands-based journalist, writer, and editor Anik See, and American climber and past president of the American Alpine Club, Steve Swenson. Shortlisted books, and winners in the individual categories, included:

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Mountain Image Award: Pamir: Forgotten on the Roof of the World by Matthieu and Mareile Paley (Editions de la Martiniere, France, 2012.
Mountain and Wilderness Literature – Nonfiction (The Jon Whyte Award): Everest – The First Ascent by Harriet Tuckey (Lyons Press, USA, 2013).
Guidebook Award: Patagonia Vertical by Rolando Garibotti and Dörte Pietron (Sidarta, Slovenia, 2012).
Adventure Travel Award: On the Trail of Genghis Khan, An Epic Journey Through the Land of the Nomads by Tim Cope (Bloomsbury, USA, 2013).
Mountain Fiction and Poetry Award: Nothing Gold Can Stay, by Ron Rash (HarperCollins, USA, 2013).
Mountaineering History (The James Monroe Thorington Award): The Conquest of Everest by George Lowe and Huw Lewis-Jones (Thames & Hudson, UK, 2013).
Special Jury Mention: Alone on the Ice by David Roberts (WW Norton Company, USA, 2013).

Created 38 years ago, the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival has become the premier event of its kind in the world. The Festival showcases the world’s best films, books and photographs on mountain subjects – climbing, culture, environment and natural history, exploration and adventure, wildlife, and sport – and attracts the biggest names in mountaineering, adventure filmmaking, and extreme sports as presenters and speakers. More than 80 films will screen during the nine-day festival, and an international jury will award over $50,000 in prizes.


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