Winner! 2011 Munday Award, Banff Mountain Festival (CANADA)
Winner! 2011 Boardman Tasker Prize, Kendal Mountain Festival (UNITED KINGDOM)
Freedom Climbers—the most honoured book of mountaineering literature published in Canada—tells the story of a group of extraordinary Polish adventurers who emerged from under the blanket of oppression following the Second World War to become the world's leading Himalayan climbers. Although they lived in a dreary, war-ravaged landscape, with seemingly no hope of creating a meaningful life, these curious, motivated and skilled mountaineers created their own free-market economy under the very noses of their Communist bosses and climbed their way to liberation. At a time when Polish citizens were locked behind the Iron Curtain, these intrepid explorers found a way to travel the world in search of extreme adventure—to Alaska, South America and Europe, but mostly to the highest and most inspiring mountains of the world. To this end, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Nepal became their second homes as they evolved into the toughest group of Himalayan climbers the world has ever known.
Bernadette McDonald is the founding vice-president of Mountain Culture at the Banff Centre and author of seven books on international mountaineering, including Toma* Humar (Random House UK, 2008); Brotherhood of the Rope (The Mountaineers Books, 2007) and I’ll Call You in Kathmandu (The Mountaineers Books, 2005). McDonald is the winner of numerous awards, including Italy’s ITAS Prize for mountain writing (2010) and is a two-time winner of India’s Kekoo Naoroji Award for Mountain Literature (2009 and 2008). She has also received the Alberta Order of Excellence (2010), the Summit of Excellence Award from the Banff Centre (2007), the King Albert Award for international leadership in the field of mountain culture and environment (2006), and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal (2002). Freedom Climbers is her first book with RMB.