The Snow Leopard
Introduced by Alex Matthiessen
Shortlisted in Folio’s Reader’s Choice this award-wining Himalayan travelogue is published for the first time with original expedition photographs and an exclusive introduction by Matthiessen’s son.
Among the best travel books ever written, The Snow Leopard gained a reverential following among trekkers and natural history enthusiasts, and its powerful environmental messages are perhaps even more relevant today than when it was first published.
The book charts naturalist and writer Peter Matthiessen’s journey through the Himalayas to the Crystal Mountain on the Tibetan Plateau in 1973. He was invited to accompany field biologist George Schaller on a research expedition to track the rare Himalayan blue sheep, following a route that crossed the territory of the snow leopard. Long fascinated by the endangered and rarely sighted big cats, Matthiessen was drawn to the possibility of being one of the few Westerners to see them in their natural habitat.
Matthiessen’s extraordinary journey through snowfields and high plateau crosses one of the last great wildernesses on earth. His engagement with the landscape and wildlife – wolves and black bear, ‘fire-coloured dragonflies’, flocks of rose finches and the lammergeier vulture, ‘a nine-foot blade sweeping down out of the north’, is thrilling. However, it is his encounters with the Tibetan people – monks, lamas in their mountaintop monasteries and his often belligerent Sherpas – that affect him most deeply: their unity with the natural world and ‘deep trust in life’ turned his Western mind upside down.
Bound in printed, blocked and spot-varnished cloth
Set in Laurentian
20 pages of colour plates
Printed map endpapers
10˝ x 6¾˝