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Successful Expedition June 4th 2014 Press Release

Gurue, Mozambique –June 4, 2014 –An international team of rock climbers, entomologists, and herpatologists gathered on the summit of Mt. Namuli, Zambezia, Mozambique on May 27th at the culmination of the 30-day, 18-member Lost Mountain expedition… Download Press Release  | Read On Blog


Press Kit from Pre-Expedition Release

  • Pre-Trip Pess Release and FAQ for Media Download PDF | (or scroll below)
  • Zip File of Lost Mountain Photos for Press Use (photo key included) Download

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The Lost Mountain on Kickstarter
Please see our Kickstarter Video Below, and see successful campaign on

Lost Mountain Press Information and FAQ

The Lost Mountain is a project about discovery, adventure, and ultimately survival in one of the world’s least explored and most threatened habitats. In May 2014, two rock climbers will lead a team of biologists onto the unexplored cliff face of Mt. Namuli, Mozambique’s second-highest mountain and the largest of a group of isolated peaks in northern Mozambique and southern Malawi known as inselbergs. They are searching for new species of insects and reptiles—life that will help scientists piece together the evolutionary story of this global biodiversity hotspot, and will help the people who live here confirm the value of this single mountain to the world.

In concert with the scientific study, members from LUPA, a Mozambique-based conservation NGO, will join the expedition to meet with local leaders, community members, and farmers from the rural areas around Mt. Namuli. The goal of LUPA’s work is to determine the first steps of a viable conservation plan that will integrate the habitat preservation needs identified by scientists with actionable enhancement of local livelihoods.

The spirit of the Lost Mountain project is of collaboration and connection. What will scientists discover when they’re brought into the vertical world of rock climbers? What can be accomplished when rock climbers, filmmakers, scientists, and conservationists come together among one of the planet’s least studied, most threatened mountains? What can we all learn about the world, together?

What is the Lost Mountain PROJECT?
The Lost Mountain project is an international venture led by Majka Burhardt, a professional climber, speaker, and author who champions Additive Adventure: outdoor endeavors that push beyond exploration to greater cultural and environmental connection. Majka has constructed the international team of scientists, conservationists, and filmmakers behind the project and is the expedition leader.

The Lost Mountain expedition is one month in length, beginning May 5, 2014, with locations on Mt. Mulanje in Malawi and Mt. Namuli in Mozambique. The expedition goals are:

  1. To use rock climbing to enable scientists to explore cliff-side habitat on two inselbergs—island mountains—in eastern Africa. The scientists will be searching for new species of insects and reptiles and for species that link the region’s isolated mountains together in an evolutionary history.
  2. To connect a Mozambican civil-society organization with scientists and with the people who live near the base of Mt. Namuli so they can build an integrated conservation plan for this global biodiversity hotspot.
  3. To capture and share the stories of these places, this journey, and the people involved.

The Lost Mountain is not an environmental activism project nor a humanitarian project, in the traditional use of those terms. Rather than act on or toward others, our project is focused on action by learning. What can we learn about the function of mountain ecosystems by exploring a cliff face? What can we learn about the needs and desires of the people who live near Mt. Namuli? How are those needs and desires similar to or different from those of other mountain communities around the world?

What is the plan for the expedition?
The team flies in and meets in Blantyre, Malawi on May 5, 2014. From here, they travel to the Mt. Mulanje Conservation Trust at the base of Mt. Mulanje. The team will spend approximately 5 days hiking and climbing around Mt. Mulanje. Mt. Mulanje is relatively well studied compared with Mt. Namuli, it has a well-functioning conservation plan in place, and it even has several established rock climbing routes. By starting here, the team will get to experience an example of possibility for Mt. Namuli and the scientists will get a chance to compare species between these two mountains.

From Mt. Mulanje, the team will travel via 4WD vehicle across the border into Mozambique and to the town of Gurue, where they will gather final supplies. From Gurue, the team will hike into a camp along the base of Mt. Namuli. The team will spend approximately 18 days on Mt. Namuli, conducting research along the granite face and interacting with the people who live along the flanks of the mountain. The team will work with their local partners and contacts to organize community gatherings in one of the villages and up at their camp.

During the time on Mt. Namuli, Majka and Kate will work on establishing a climbing route from the base of the granite dome to the summit. Using ropes and anchors, the climbers will then guide the scientists up onto the face to explore the scientifically relevant crevice and ledge habitats.

What is the Lost Mountain FILM?
The Lost Mountain film is a feature documentary covering the events and people involved in the Lost Mountain project. The intention of the film is to use the expedition to explore notions of land use, wildlife, and cultural and natural heritage from different perspectives. In one sense, it is an adventure story: two female rock climbers lead a team of biologists onto an unexplored cliff face in Mozambique. In another sense, it is a story of our times: the witnessing of a rapidly changing world and the struggle to balance tradition, modernity, and the ever shrinking space on our planet.

We are sending a production crew of two camera operators and a sound recordist into the field with the Lost Mountain team. We will create a 30- or 60-minute feature documentary film to be submitted at film festivals and for possible theatrical or TV release. Our goal is to have the film complete by late 2015.

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.

How is the Lost Mountain funded?
The Lost Mountain is a community-backed project. We ran a successful Kickstarter campaign, raising $28,875 in grassroots support. The conservation goals of this project are supported in part from a grant from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, an alliance of six global leaders including the World Bank, the MacArthur Foundation, Conservation International, and the Government of Japan. The Lost Mountain is also supported by matching grants from Positive Tracks, a national youth-centric nonprofit focused on the power of sport, and we have sponsor support from outdoor and travel industry and partners, including Osprey Packs, Ethiopian Airlines, and Patagonia.

Who is the Lost Mountain team?
See list and bios of our Expedition Team here
See list and bios of our Film Crew here

Where/What the heck is Mt. Namuli?
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. Yet despite these distinctions, it is Mt. Namuli’s linkages to the surrounding landscape and its position along a corridor of mountains stretching from South Africa to the Arabian Peninsula that has gripped the attention of the world’s scientists.

Mt. Namuli is also the ancestral home for the Makhua people, the largest ethnic group in Mozambique, with significant populations in adjacent Tanzania and Malawi.

Mozambique’s human history is one of civil war, landmines, and at times, frozen opportunity. Mt. Namuli exists in the heart of one of the country’s poorest regions and one that has struggled the most to emerge into a future of manifested opportunities. This area is primarily agricultural and the prospects for creating mutually beneficial farming and resource management are great.

Mt. Namuli is one of the most significant, threatened, and understudied massifs in the Eastern Afromontane. In 2012, the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund designated Namuli as a Level 1 Priority Key Biodiversity Area. The Lost Mountain project is poised to act on this designation. The Lost Mountain is about working locally to create locally generated change and possibility. It is also about sharing that story with the world.

There is very little conversation right now about true integrated conservation. Merging human livelihood advancement, agricultural health, key biological protection zones, and access presents a way forward for whole communities. Just bringing this conversation into the global dialogue creates positive change. In addition, this project will result in the next steps toward a sustainable management plan for Mt. Namuli.

Where can I learn more and be in touch?

Sarah Garlick
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 603-986-0686

Majka Burhardt
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 970-290-7822