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The Lost Mountain
is an international venture combining rock climbing, cliff-side scientific research, and integrated conservation planning. Led by author and professional climber Majka Burhardt, the project is being featured in a documentary film and in several youth philanthropy initiatives.

In May 2014, Burhardt led a team of biologists, conservation workers, and filmmakers in an exploration of Mozambique’s Mt. Namuli and Malawi’s Mt. Mulanje. The expedition spent a month conducting scientific and conservation fieldwork, using rock climbing to access previously unexplored habitats. The successful expedition wrapped in June 2014 and the Lost Mountain team is currently finishing work on the Lost Mountain Film.

The Lost Mountain is a project about discovery, adventure, and ultimately survival in one of the world’s least explored and most threatened habitats. Mt. Namuli, a 7,936-foot granite monolith, is the largest of a group of isolated peaks that tower over the ancient valleys of northern Mozambique. Here, plants and animals have evolved as if on dispersed oceanic islands, so that individual mountains have become refuge to their own unique species of life, many of which have yet to be discovered or described by science. Biologists and conservationists from around the world have identified Mt. Namuli as a global hotspot: a place of critical biodiversity and an opportunity to model a new vision for wildlife preservation that integrates the wishes and needs of local people.


  • RESEARCH: Discovery of one new snake species, the southernmost record of a Caecilian in the world, plus 40 ant genera and 27 herpetological specimens, dozens of which have yet to be identified– all of which will link this fragile and vital mountain to the evolution of East Africa’s wildlife.
  • CLIMB: Establishment of the first technical climbing route on Mozambique’s Mt. Namuli by Majka Burhardt and Kate Rutherford: Majka and Kate’s Science Project (5.10-, IV, 12 pitches).
  • CONSERVE: Completion of the first ever integrated conservation plan for Mt. Namuli, led by Mozambican NGO LUPA, with a priority focus on human livelihood advancement in concert with natural resource management to support a thriving future for one of the world’s most precious biodiversity hotspots.


Partner development and fundraising campaign to begin implementation of the Namuli Integrated Conservation Plan: economic development focused on environmental sustainability.

Completion of The Lost Mountain Film: A documentary film about the spirit of exploration and what happens when adventure becomes a nexus for art, science, and global change. Due out 2015.

Majka Burhardt (Project Leader) and Kate Rutherford
Flavia Esteves (California Academy of Sciences, USA), Harith Farooq (Lurio University, Mozambique), and Caswell Munyai (University of Venda, South Africa)
LUPA (Associação para o Desenvolvimento Comunitário)
Paul Yoo, Sarah Garlick, Rob Frost, James Q Martin, and Jacob Bain

See the Music Video | Meet the Team | Read the Press | See our Next Gen Initiative for Youth

Why the “Lost” Mountain?
Over 3,500 people live on the flanks of Mt Namuli. The mountain and its riches are anything but “lost” to these people and to those who’ve had the fortune to visit Namuli or live in sight of the 7,936-foot granite massif. But to many of the rest of us, Namuli has been “lost” because it lived off the map of the global scientific and conservation consciousness. As one scientist put it, Namuli was the dot on the question mark of the Eastern Afromontane—not thought to be linked to the other mountains, but crucial to understanding their full impact. After all, what would a question mark be without its emphatic dot? Our project, and our film, is about the edge between “lost” and “found” and how exploring that edge, with passion and collaboration, can hopefully lead to change and opportunity.

Matching Giving to The Lost Mountain
Want to DOUBLE Your Donation to the Lost Mountain? Our partner, Positive Tracks, is a national, youth-centric nonprofit that helps young people get active and give back using the power of sport and adventure that matches your fundraising dollars up to $20,000! read more…

The Lost Mountain Project and Film are made possible by a grant from the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF) — a joint initiative of l’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank. Additional support and funding from the following companies and organizations. Join the team and become a member of an already successful funding alliance, a project dedicated to leading a global conversation about conservation in the 21st century.




The Lost Mountain is a nonprofit partner of: