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Review: Alpine Warriors

August 10, 2015


By John Reid

Fantastic research coupled with poetic and earnest storytelling from Bernadette McDonald creates Alpine Warriors, a wonderfully passionate account of mountaineering’s unsung pioneers. 


When you consider the best climbing countries in the history of mountaineering, Slovenia isn’t likely to top your list. But the tiny country in the Balkans’ northwestern region has produced some of the finest alpinists the world has ever seen.

Mountaineering in Slovenia is like hockey in Canada or football in the United States. It’s so much more than a sport, providing a passion for its people and a source of inspiration for the country. Indeed, Slovenians are so tied to the Julian Alps that dominate the northwest tip of the country that each citizen feels it is their duty to climb Triglav, Slovenia’s highest peak.


Until now, the names of these climbers are likely only recognized in Slovenia. But award-winning writer, Bernadette McDonald, has done the mountaineering world a service by introducing these high altitude pioneers to the West.

In Alpine Warriors, published by Rocky Mountain Books, Bernadette McDonald tells the story of a courageous group of climbers conquering peaks and routes while inspiring their country during some of its most turbulent times. Challenged by more than just mountains, generations of alpinists in Slovenia have dealt with an unstable and often unsafe political climate.


Through meticulous research and captivating anecdotes, Bernadette McDonald describes the tumultuous times that led to the fall of Yugoslavia and how the mountains pulled its people together. She provides a glimpse into the minds of the men who were climbing for discovery, patriotism, brotherhood, and love.

As the book progresses, you start to get an understanding of the philosophy these climbers adhere to. Whether you’re a mountain-lover or an experienced alpinist, you can’t help but be inspired by the passion and desire that drove these men to near-impossible feats.


Bernadette McDonald is the author of eight books on mountaineering and mountain culture. She has received numerous mountain writing awards, including Italy’s ITAS Prize (2010), and is a two-time winner of India’s Kekoo Naoroji Award for mountain literature (2008 and 2009). In 2011 Bernadette’s book Freedom Climbers won the Grand Prize at the Banff Mountain Book Festival (Canada), the Boardman Tasker Prize (UK) and the American Alpine Club’s H. Adams Carter Literary Award.

Lover of limestone, lynx and larch! John Reid is a Rocky Mountain writer and usually the first to say something positive after the third false summit.

The views and opinions expressed in the articles on are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the editor, the editorial team or the publishers.