High Col Press publishes books about rock climbing, ice-climbing, and mountaineering. Our mission is to produce outstanding works of reference and literature, books that are a pleasure to use and which inspire climbers to discover new crags, to be up in the mountains, and enjoy every day of their time on rock, ice and hill. High Col was established in April 2010 with the publication of Canadian Rock: Select Climbs of the West, and under two former companies has been producing guidebooks for climbers since 1992. On three occasions we have won the top award in the Banff Mountain Book Festival Mountain Exposition category, with Selkirks South, the Bugaboo Guide, and Canadian Rock: Select Climbs of the West. High Col Press is owned by Kevin McLane.
Col is a French word that means a pass in English. In North America, a pass is used to describe ordinary places where you'll find cars and trains. But for climbers, 'Col', the very word itself, evokes rich meaning and landmarks of distinction. Cols can be steep climbs between mountains, endings and beginnings on multi-peak enchainments, or passages between deep valleys. Cols are places to pause and enjoy reprieve, to find bearings, to contemplate and wonder, or find shelter from harsh conditions. In a Col you know where you are.
The essence of why a col carries such admirable characteristics is a calming sense of non-duality, suspended between peaks, between glaciers or between valleys. A col is at the same time all of these things and none of them. Cols can be attainments in their own right, awe-inspiring mountain places such as the Bugaboo-Snowpatch col, the Waddington-Combatant col, the Matier-Joffre Col, the Andromeda-Athabasca Col, the Col of Hope on Cerro Torre, or the Col de Peuterey on Mont Blanc. Cols can be places of no return with profound change awaiting down the far side. Think of Tibetans struggling over high cols in the Himalaya escaping south to Nepal.