Bernadette McDonald

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Bernadette McDonald
Born Bernadette Kelly
1951 (age 65–66)
Biggar, Saskatchewan, Canada
Occupation author
Genre Non-fiction
Notable awards Alberta Order of Excellence, King Albert Award, Banff Mountain Book Festival: Grand Prize, Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature 2011
Relatives Lester Kelly (father), Erna Kelly (mother), Alan McDonald (husband)

Bernadette McDonald (born 1951) is a Canadian-born author of several non-fiction books, primarily on mountain culture topics, including Brotherhood of the Rope,[1] Tomaž Humar[2] and Freedom Climbers.

Life and career[edit]

McDonald was born in 1951, in Biggar, Saskatchewan, the daughter of Lester and Erna Kelly. She grew up on a prairie farm. Her childhood and most of her education was focused on music, with a special emphasis on the performance of contemporary classical chamber music. She studied at Pacific Lutheran University, the University of Western Ontario and The Banff Centre. She moved to the Canadian Rockies in the early 1970s.

She volunteered for the Banff Mountain Film Festival and she worked at The Banff Centre for twenty years, directing the Banff Mountain Festivals[3] and starting the Mountain Culture division. She resigned from her position of vice president, Mountain Culture in 2006 to concentrate on writing.[citation needed]

She lectures on a variety of mountain topics for universities, festivals and alpine clubs, consults on mountain cultural issues with start-up festivals and mountain institutes, and curates mountain-related exhibitions. She has a number of honors, including the Alberta Order of Excellence,[4] the Summit of Excellence Award,[5] the King Albert Award and several mountain literary prizes such as the 2011 Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature. She was Canada’s representative at the United Nations to launch the International Year of Mountains.[6]

She has traveled widely, from South Africa to Iceland, Tibet to Patagonia, New Zealand to India, France to Turkey and Italy. She lives with her husband Alan McDonald in Banff, Alberta and in Naramata, British Columbia.


As author[edit]

  • Alpine Warriors, Rocky Mountain Books, 2015, Calgary, Alberta
  • Keeper of the Mountains: The Elizabeth Hawley Story, Rocky Mountain Books, 2012, Calgary, Alberta
  • Freedom Climbers, Rocky Mountain Books, 2011, Calgary, Alberta
  • Tomaž Humar, Random House, Spring 2008, London
  • Brotherhood of the Rope, Baton Wicks, 2007, London
  • Brotherhood of the Rope, The Mountaineers Books, 2007, Seattle, Washington
  • Ti telefono a Katmandu, CDA Vivalda Editori, 2006, Turin
  • Wir Sehen Uns in Kathmandu, Bergverlag Rother, 2006, Munich
  • I’ll Call You in Kathmandu: the Elizabeth Hawley Story, The Mountaineers Books, 2005, Seattle
  • Ritratti dalle vette, alpinisti fotografati da Craig Richards, Museo della Montagna, 2003

As editor[edit]

  • Inspiring Creativity, Banff Centre Press, 2008, Banff
  • Whose Water Is It?, National Geographic Books, 2003, Washington, D.C.
  • Extreme Landscape, National Geographic Books, 2002, Washington, D.C.
  • Voices From the Summit: The World’s Great Mountaineers on the Future of Climbing, National Geographic Books, 2000, Washington, D.C.


  1. ^ McDonald, Bernadette. Brotherhood of the Rope - The Biography of Charles Houston (2007) The Mountaineers Books ISBN 978-0-89886-942-2
  2. ^ McDonald, Bernadette, Tomaž Humar Prigioniero del Ghiaccio (2009) Versante Sud ISBN 978-88-87890-99-0
  3. ^ The Banff Center Communications <>
  4. ^ The Alberta Order of Excellence <>
  5. ^ Summit of Excellence Award 2007 Bernadette McDonald <>
  6. ^ "Launch of International Year of Mountains", December 11, 2001, UN Headquarters, New York<>


External links[edit]