In 1973, Matthiessen journeyed with George Schaller, a field biologist, to Crystal Mountain in the Himalayas to study the wild blue sheep of the region called bharal. They also hoped to see the rare snow leopard, an almost mythical creature which Schaller once glimpsed on a previous visit. Matthiessen is a student of Zen Buddhism and for him this was as much an inner journey as a field trip. He succeeds well in blending the spiritual with the earthly and his book is an evocative account of a remote and timeless place and its people.
What began as a practical search for the rare snow leopard, revered Buddhist emblem, developed into a quest for the meaning of being.
An enjoyable combination of mountaineering and mysticism.