The Lost Mountain Initiative is an international venture to foster a future where people and ecosystems thrive together on Mount Namuli, Mozambique. The Initiative began with a 2014 field expedition combining rock-climbing, cliffside scientific research, integrated conservation planning, and media.
The Lost Mountain Initiative is currently working to create targeted, measurable conservation and human livelihood gains on Mount Namuli and scale this approach to other mountain regions and communities.
The Lost Mountain commenced in May 2014 when Lost Mountain founder, professional climber and social entrepreneur, Majka Burhardt, along with fellow professional climber Kate Rutherford, 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 will be featured in the forthcoming Lost Mountain Film, due out in 2015.
2014 EXPEDITION SUCCESS AT A GLANCE
- 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.
NEXT STEPS: CONSERVATION
- Implementation of a multi-tiered Mount Namuli Conservation Plan to create meaningful and lasting conservation and development gains for Namuli.
- Creation of innovation-based practices for conservationists (derived from the Namuli experience) that can be used in other locales and environments.
- Hosting of two international “Disruptive Conservation” events to increase local and global multidisciplinary dialogue and action. Follow the first in 2015 and stay tuned for news of the 2016 event.
NEXT STEPS: FILM
- Completion of The Lost Mountain Film: Two women push the bounds of friendship, climbing conventions, and scientific research on the 2,000-foot granite face of Mozambique’s second highest mountain, Mount Namuli. 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.
- Completion of the Positive Tracks Next Gen Lost Mountain Short: An adapted 5-7 minute short of the full film featuring the Positive Tracks Next Gen ambassadors. This short carries a targeted message for young people about the power of collaboration, following one’s passion, and having an impact through physical activity. This short is produced in partnership with Additive Adventure and Positive Tracks a national nonprofit that encourages youth philanthropy through sports and adventure.
The Lost Mountain combines 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.
WHY THE “LOST” MOUNTAIN?”
Answer #1 Over 7,500 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.
Answer #2 Eastern and Southern Africa’s most remote, impoverished, and biologically diverse places are places that many might consider to be of global biodiversity importance and yet are also considered “lost causes” from a conservation standpoint. The Lost Mountain seeks to meaningfully advance conservation and sustainable development in these “lost cause” areas.
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.