In this exquisitely written journal-turned-journey of self-discovery, international bestselling author Paolo Cognetti examines our universal desire for connection through a voyage in the Himalayas.
Why climb a mountain without ever reaching the summit?
In 2017, Paolo Cognetti returned to Nepal, not to conquer the mountains but to journey through the high valleys of the Dolpo with a copy of Peter Matthiessen's The Snow Leopard in hand. Drawing on memories of his childhood in theAlps, Cognetti explored the roots of life in the mountains, truly getting to know the communities and the nature that forged this resilient, almost mythical region.
Accompanying him was Remigio, a childhood friend who had never left the mountains of Italy, and Nicola, a painter he had recently met. Joined by a stalwart team of local sherpas, the trio started out in the remote Dolpo region of Nepal. From there, a journey of self-discovery shaped by illness, human connection, and empathy was born.
Without Ever Reaching the Summit features line illustrations drawn by the author.
Cognetti (The Eight Mountains) presents a delightful travelogue of his transformative visit to the Dolpo region of Nepal. To celebrate his 40th birthday, Cognetti leaves his home in the Italian Alps and joins, with a couple friends, a group of about 20 others on a monthlong hike through Nepal. Inspired by the trek Peter Matthiessen chronicled in The Snow Leopard, Cognetti sees his expedition as a pilgrimage in which the purpose is not to reach a summit or a temple, but to travel and feel welcomed by the landscape rather than challenged by it. While suffering from altitude sickness, Cognetti navigates the frothy Suli Gad river, glacier capped mountains, ancient monasteries, a herd of blue Himalayan sheep, and tracks left by the elusive snow leopard. Along the way, he embraces the Buddhist mantra om mani padme hum (om, the jewel in the lotus) adopts a little black dog, and (through contemplation of the snow leopard) comes to respect the "unseen and untouched" presence of the mountain. Luczkiw's lush translation captures Cognetti's impassioned descriptions of the mountains, fauna, and the many gracious people he encountered along the trail. Armchair travelers with a spiritual bent will be riveted by Cognetti's reflections. (Jun.)