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Matt Johanson’s book “Sierra Summits: A Guide to 50 Peak Experiences in California’s Range of Light” has won a National Outdoors Book Award.“Sierra Summits” suggests summit hikes throughout the Sierra Nevada which active people can complete in a single day without technical gear.
The National Outdoor Book Awards (NOBA) is the outdoor world’s largest and most prestigious book award program which recognizes and encourages outstanding writing and publishing. “Sierra Summits” won the competition’s adventure guidebook division.
“I’m honored to be recognized and grateful that readers enjoy my work. I loved writing the book and hope it helps people discover new experiences in the mountains,” Johanson said.
Johanson actively worked on the book for about two years, though decades of experiences inspired him to write it. A Bay Area native, Johanson moved to the Yosemite area in 1994 and discovered the appeal of hiking, climbing and skiing in the Sierra Nevada. He continued those pursuits after returning to the Bay Area and eventually began writing about them.
In fact, ASJ published his first outdoors article, which was a trip report about a trans-Sierra ski trek in 2002. “Sierra Summits” shares some of the author’s personal experiences and family history, though it mostly focuses on the appeal of 50 mountain summits from the areas of Lake Tahoe, the Mother Lode, Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks and the Eastern Sierra. The book profiles popular peaks like Half Dome and Mount Whitney, as well as lesser-known gems like Clouds Rest, Sonora Peak and Round Top.
Each region gets an introduction with an interesting historical synopsis and travelers’ tips. More than 200 color photos (Johanson’s own) and maps bring the subject to life.
The judges appreciated the book’s focus on mountains achievable by beginning climbers. Johanson plans to continue that approach in the book’s sequel in progress, “California Summits,” which he hopes to complete next year. “I’m fortunate and grateful that I get to do what I love, enjoying the outdoors and sharing them through my writing and photography,” he said.
Read some of Johanson’s ASJ stories here.