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Mountaineers Books marks its 50th anniversary

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Mountaineers Books marks its 50th anniversary
October 14, 2010 05:32PM
October 14, 2010 at 10:48 AM | Page modified October 14, 2010 at 2:11 PM

After 50 years, Mountaineers Books still on the rise
The Mountaineers Books is on solid ground as it prepares to observe its 50th anniversary: Sales at the nonprofit club's publishing division rose 15 percent to more than $3.3 million for last fiscal year, and the 15-employee operation earned a profit of about 8 percent that will be plowed back into publishing new books and, increasingly, digital content.

By Terry Wood

Special to The Seattle Times

Serving readers who dream of scaling lofty pinnacles or dangling toes over a view-filled precipice, The Mountaineers Books is on solid ground as it prepares to mark its 50th anniversary, says publisher Helen Cherullo.

"It hasn't been easy in this environment," says Cherullo, "but we've had a really good year."

Sales at the publishing division of The Mountaineers, a nonprofit club founded in 1906 to advance outdoor recreation and conservation, climbed a healthy 15 percent to more than $3.3 million for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30. The 15-employee operation, which generally is financially self-sufficient, earned a profit of about 8 percent that will be plowed back into publishing new books and, increasingly, digital content.

Not that its older books — a catalog of 500-plus titles — are being ignored.

The eighth edition of "Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills" — the first title ever released by The Mountaineers Books (in 1960) and still its all-time best-seller — reached stores last month.

Published in 10 languages with more than 600,000 copies of past editions sold, "Freedom" is mountaineering's seminal textbook. The new edition offers the most up-to-date thinking from more than 40 climbers and outdoor educators on hundreds of topics, from knot-tying to waterfall ice climbing.

Renowned climber Ed Viesturs has said he picked up his first copy of "Freedom" in 1976 and read it more than once before his first climb. Other climbing greats, from Jim Whittaker to Conrad Anker, cite its influence on their careers.

"I don't know if I ever talked to a climber who hasn't brought up on their own, 'Oh, I learned to climb with "Freedom" ' — and then they'll tell me which edition," Cherullo says. "Jim Wickwire, the first American to stand on K2, shared with us that he learned to climb using the first edition. That's a real source of pride for us, knowing that the book has been an important part of so many climbers' tool kits."

Wickwire, 70, and Whittaker, 81, will be among climbing luminaries attending an anniversary celebration Friday night at The Mountaineers' Seattle program center.


www.mountaineersbooks.org

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2013159998_mountaineers15.html
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