An interview with climber and writer Majka Burhardt
If you’re a writer, there are few things better than to combine your passion for storytelling with something else that you truly love. For writer Majka Burhardt climbing has long been the subject of her many articles in adventure magazines. A certified rocking climbing instructor and a member of the American Mountain Guides Association Burhardt blends her love for the outdoors with vivid descriptions of scenic landscapes and literary portraits of the many interesting people she encounters.
But it was on a trip to Africa a few years ago that she discovered a unique opportunity to add one more passion to the mix. On a journey to explore the industry and culture of Ethiopia coffee, Burhardt found that when you least expect it you can find adventure in the most unlikely places.
“Well interestingly enough I saw a lot of crumbly basalt on that first trip,” Burhardt said. “But I realized that there was just so much potential in Ethiopia that was really unknown to rest of the world, mainly because we all associate with it drought, famine and war, and instead I’m in this bucolic countryside searching for wild coffee and I looked at these basalt faces and said, O.K. there’s got to be more because the topography is amazing.” You have things from the third highest peak in Africa all the way to one of the lowest points on earth. So there’s got to be climbing.”
So Burhardt put together to small team of her best climbing buddies all of them women, and one photographer, guy named Gabe Rogel, and headed back to Africa climb a few first ascents on mountain spires in the cradle of our most ancient civilizations. Her book Vertical Ethiopia tells the story in words and pictures behind this expedition to explore a world of new possibilities.
Check out Majka’s new film on climbing in Africa called Waypoint Namibia
Music this week by the band Khumbula
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