Staff Pick Badge
Without Ever Reaching the Summit: A Journey Cover Image
By Paolo Cognetti, Stash Luczkiw (Translated by)
On Our Shelves Now
1 on hand, as of Sep 24 10:18pm

Staff Reviews

Nearing his 40th birthday and sensing a kind of ending, Cognetti and friends embark on a trek through one of the last regions of the world where the modern Western culture has not taken root, the Dolpo region of Nepal. As so many of us who are drawn to the mountains do, Cognetti seeks a deeper personal truth, an inner truth experienced  because of the outer world. In simple but beautiful prose, Cognetti reveals the majesty of the mountains, the human connections, the awe, the pain, and the humor of the experience.

— From What Christopher is reading

For mountain worshippers (like me) and any reader who enjoys autobiography, adventure, self-discovery and bestselling Italian writer, Paolo Cognetti, guarantees to please the same audience in his newest work.

I'm rarely disappointed with any book, delivered with integrity, about Nepal, Everest, the Alps, mountaineering, or the elusive snow leopard! Cognetti takes a step beyond most who have documented their climbs; he offers a unique perspective in his narrative. His story isn't about summitting Mt. Everest but rather how he expects to conquer the Himalayas in a different way. In 2017, he sets out with two friends and a team of Sherpas on a difficult late fall/early winter trek through the remote high valleys of the Dolpo region of Nepal, a rare journey fraught with its own unique challenges and risks.

Aside from learning about Dolpo, its people, and their vanishing culture, I was fascinated by Cognetti's reverence for Peter Matthiessen's classic work, THE SNOW LEOPARD. He devours Peter's book cover to cover, several times during his journey. He uncovers distinct parallels between himself and Peter and their paths; the driving passions behind their respective quests; he even wonders if the stray dog that joins his group might possibly be Peter's own spirit or suggest a hidden snow leopard following in their footsteps.

My next step? I must reread THE SNOW LEOPARD! And I recommend Cognetti's superb journal, complete with his personal field sketches to enhance his colorful, polished writing.

Sandy Ferguson Fuller

— From What Sandy is Reading


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.

About the Author

Paolo Cognetti is an Italian novelist from Milan. He divides his time between the city and his cabin in the Italian Alps. He is the author of The Wild Boy and The Eight Mountains, which was an international sensation and won Italy's Strega Prize and the French Prix M├ędicis ├ętranger.

Praise For…

“Without Ever Reaching the Summit is an exquisite book by a writer of rare wisdom and grace… Mr. Cognetti reminds readers in need of healing that common miracles abound, even as the world falls to ruin. They exist beyond the mountains. We need not look up, but only within, to be free.” 
Wall Street Journal

“Armchair travelers with a spiritual bent will be riveted by Cognetti’s reflections.”

Publishers Weekly

“Of interest to fans of The Snow Leopard, and those fascinated by or interested in learning more about this geographical region of Nepal.”
Library Journal
Product Details
ISBN: 9780062978318
ISBN-10: 0062978314
Publisher: HarperOne
Publication Date: June 23rd, 2020
Pages: 160
Language: English