Funded! This project was successfully funded on August 29, 2013.


A film about pushing the bounds of science, adventure, & conservation on the 2,000' cliff face of Mozambique's 2nd highest mountain.

8/13/13 UPDATE: Help Us Make This Project Even Better!

We are floored by the support and energy behind this project. Totally wowed. Thank you to everyone who has helped build this incredible momentum in our campaign with your generosity and by sharing our project with friends and colleagues.

Will you help us make this project go bigger? We want to share the project with as many local audiences in Mozambique as possible, which will require translating the film into Portuguese and working with our community partners at LUPA on a distribution plan. To do all of that, we need to reach a bigger goal--$32,000, before the campaign ends. We're in if you're in!

Help us make this project bigger yet: We'd love to do even more. If we get to $37,000 we will create an extra science chapter with extended interviews with scientists and a discussion of the evolutionary biology and ecology of the island mountains of Mozambique--and make that chapter available in the Portuguese version.

Let's do it!


This fall, two female rock climbers will lead a team of biologists onto an unexplored cliff face in Mozambique. Their mission:

- To search for new species of insects and reptiles that will link this fragile and vital mountain to the evolution of East Africa's wildlife

- To build a conservation plan with the local community and a team of Mozambique-based conservationists that will ensure a thriving future for one of the world's most precious biodiversity hotspots. 

With your help, we will make a 30-minute documentary film for international distribution.

Your contribution to the Lost Mountain Kickstarter campaign is TAX DEDUCTIBLE via our partnership with the 501c3 organization Filmmakers Alliance.


From The Film Team: This story evolves from the inspiration the characters deliver us as filmmakers. We have two extraordinarily driven women, Majka Burhardt and Kate Rutherford, whose expertise as rock climbers pushes the action of the film forward, opening a new opportunity for a team of biologists to explore a remote mountain in Mozambique. We have Dan Portik, a PhD student in evolutionary biology from UC Berkeley, and Werner Conradie, a South African field biologist from the Port Elizabeth Museum, who are coming together for the first time to work on once-competing research goals. And then there is Jonathan Mawdsley, a veteran entomologist from the Heinz Center in Washington, DC, who has a passion for beetles and a desire to fill in the missing pieces of the species distribution maps in East Africa, a problem he calls "the Namuli gap."

Their journey into the crevices of Mt. Namuli’s cliff face and the illumination of previously unexplored habitats become the center of gravity for a greater quest to understand the threats facing this biodiversity hotspot and to ask the question: what impact can one mountain have — for science, for wildlife, and for people, both locally and around the world?

We will see the characters in The Lost Mountain put themselves on the line and engage on a deep level with the challenges of not only physical hardship and adventure, but also the personal unknowns that go along with participating in a project that stretches outside the bounds of their normal spheres — and one in which so much is at stake.


Paul Yoo: A film producer/director focusing on documentaries that cover social justice issues throughout the developing world. Credits include a landmark public-private film partnership between Warner Bros. and USAID, as well as National Geographic's INSIDE series. Producer Fellow, Film Independent's Talent Development Program. His latest work includes a short documentary slate about the due diligence process aiming to reform and legitimize the historically conflict-prone mines of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Andy Bardon: Photographer and cinematographer who specializes in documenting adventure and science in remote locations.  Recent assignment work has taken him to slopes of Mt. Everest, the clear water of Tahiti, the side of El Capitan, and the top of the Grand Teton.

Sarah Garlick: A science and adventure writer and producer concentrating on the Earth, environmental, and conservation sciences. She is the author of Flakes, Jugs & Splitters: an award-winning book about geology, and a new pocket guide to Rocks and Minerals from the National Geographic Society. Sarah is our U.S.-based producer.

Musician Jacob Bain is joining us in the field to capture our live sound in addition to playing and recording music with local musicians in Mozambique and Malawi. He'll be bringing home his collection to weave into the Lost Mountain's original score, created by renown composer Cheryl Engelhardt.

You: Your role in supporting The Lost Mountain makes the project an ever widening collaboration. 


Please remember, Kickstarter campaigns are ALL OR NOTHING — we don’t receive a dime unless we meet our entire goal during our project window.

Join the Lost Mountain Team and pick your contribution level and reward on the right. Your contribution is tax-deductible—which isn’t automatically the case with Kickstarter donations.

Help us share our story.  Spread the word face-to-face or via Facebook, Twitter, Email and more. Click the picture below to post right to Facebook or create your own personal share.

Do you know of other ways to get the word out about our Kickstarter campaign? Have an idea about our project? Email Majka at


We have been working our tails off on this project because we believe in the mission, we’re inspired by the collaboration, and we know this story needs to be told. We are honored you're considering being a part of this. The Lost Mountain made it clear early on that it was going to take tenacity to accomplish. We're three years into it and we have the funds to send the scientists and climbers and conservationists to do the research and come home. But we want to do more. We want to capture the story and make a film you'll be proud of and want to watch. We're going to bat for it with everything we have and your joining us means the world.

$26,300 is a lot of money. Going to Malawi and Mozambique and capturing the story of a rigorous, month-long science, conservation, and climbing expedition, and then crafting that into a beautiful film takes money. It could take even more —but $26,300 as our ask for Kickstarter because we wanted to come to you with the base of what we knew we could do this for if we had only these funds. We're committed to making an astonishing film for this amount of money. And if we get more? (please see the next paragraph for the answer.)

We are a small, skilled team with the experience and equipment to capture this story on the ground and on the cliff face safely, efficiently, and with high production values. In an ideal world we'd out-raise our $26,300 and EVERY dollar we get beyond $26,300 gives us the ability to push what we can accomplish even farther. Help us meet and out-raise our expectations by picking your favorite reward at the right and joining us.

Remember, Kickstarter campaigns are ALL OR NOTHING — we don’t receive a dime unless we meet our entire goal during our brief project window — so please, help us gain momentum by pledging your support early in the campaign and spreading the word through your networks.

By backing this project you are supporting the production of The Lost Mountain film. We have secured the minimum amount of funding to make the cliffside ecology and conservation study happen. But we don't yet have full funding to record footage, images, and music and create the film. By contributing to our Kickstarter campaign you will enable this film and enrich the story.

DISTRIBUTION OF FUNDS: The money we raise will be distributed along the following seven categories:


In 2011, we sent an advance team on an expedition to Mt. Namuli to recon many of the logistical details and to assess the situation on the ground (and cliff face). Producer/writer Sarah Garlick joined Majka Burhardt in exploring the bottom third of Mt. Namuli's granite face, and they were able to lead South African biologist Werner Conradie up into one of the cliff's crack/corner systems where the team witnessed a gecko and several insects that are potentially new species to science. Our director Paul Yoo was also part of this trip to establish relationships and shoot initial footage.

What struck all of us during our time on Mt. Namuli was how quickly the mountain's diverse native habitats are being destroyed. We’d heard rumors about the impact of wildfires from out-of-control slash and burn, and the encroachment of agriculture into the mountain's pockets of rainforest, but it was a powerful experience to climb through crusts of soot where the wildfires had licked all the way onto the cliff face itself. Hiking far from any human settlement, we’d stumble upon clear cuts of potato crops surrounded on all sides by intact rainforest.

From the perspective of project impact, we intend to capture the nuances of how local citizens, conservation workers, global adventurers, and scientists wrestle with the complex tension between wildlands/wildlife preservation and the advancement of human community and livelihoods.

From the perspective of storytelling and what we've already seen in this film's early stages, the relationships developing in front of our lenses are what bridge the gap from screen to viewer— the intensity of friendships forged in the face of such high stakes, and the evolution of each character on a personal level as she/he sets out to achieve a set of goals that can not be accomplished individually, that are only possible through putting yourself out into that electrifying space beyond your comfort zone.

Lastly, we're excited to share that via grants, we have the capacity to use the footage from the Lost Mountain film for web video shorts that will support our local Mozambican and Malawian partners. We are also working with a Mozambican group that will produce in-country radio broadcasts about the project to local and regional Mozambican and Malawian audiences


Project Leader/Principal Big Complex Crazy Idea Driver: Majka Burhardt has 16 years of experience producing multi-stage international ventures, books, and films focused on current issues of cultural and global significance. As a professional climber, Majka has spent her career driving at the question: Can adventure better the world?

Kate Rutherford is a rock climber, storyteller, and artist who takes the beauty of vertical landscapes and crafts it into stories that inspire climbers to protect the natural environment in which they love to play.

Science Team: Werner Conradie, herpetologist from the Port Elizabeth Museum, South Africa; Dan Portik, herpetologist, University of California, Berkeley; Jonathan Mawdsley, entomologist and program director, Heinz Center for Science Economics and the Environment. Werner and Dan were both on Mt. Namuli in 2011 and all three scientists have a combined total of over thirty expeditions in Africa collecting and cataloging species.

Conservation Team Led by Mozambique-based LUPA, a civil society organization specializing in community capacity building. In Malawi we're collaborating with the Mt. Mulanje Conservation Trust.

Local Partners The Lost Mountain Team has spent three years building partnerships in Mozambique and Malawi. Local partners include: Mozambique National Institute of Agronomic Research (IIAM), African Film Commission, Gurue, Zambezia District Coordinator, the Macunka Community of Namuli, and our local fixer and translator Luis Dos Santos Cotxane.


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.

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—an alliance of six global leaders including the World Bank, the MacArthur Foundation, Conservation International, and the Government of Japan—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.


For more about the project please visit:

**Reward Delivery Note: We've put together our reward delivery dates with an eye to get you your rewards as soon as possible. Our target is to have the film downloads available by August 2014-- if you are getting the download and other rewards and see an earlier date it means you get your rewards spread out over time-- sort of like your birthday every month, from the Lost Mountain.


Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Poisonous snakes, bankrupt national airlines, vegetation-covered granite. We've been there and know the risks — and have the right team and right know-how to manage those risks. Conducting field work and shooting a film while on a 30-day expedition in the bush in Malawi and Mozambique is a challenge any way you do it, but a challenge we seek and one that is an integral piece of the project. We've put together a team of professionals with a combined total of 120 years of field experience. We have someone who has dealt with almost every possibility and a collective creative approach to problems large and small that will come in handy. Majka and Kate are veterans in big wall climbing and safety and will manage the cliffside ecology team. Andy Bardon will bring his extensive high angle shooting to bear on media management on the cliff face. Werner Conradie is our local local poisonous creature director and he and Dan Portik have both spent time on Namuli before and know the terrain and the creatures. And Paul Yoo brings his wealth of shooting film and photos in serene and contentious regions to round out the team.

Our 2011 reconnaissance trip helps us immeasurably in our planning and forecasting. We have local partners on the ground and the logistical support of the Mt. Mulanje Conservation Trust and our friends in Gurue, Mozambique.

The bottom line is that this is a story about adventure, science, and conservation. This is a story about finding a Lost Mountain. Our job is to go and capture it and make sure we have the solar power and organization to back everything up and then capture more. We're ready.

Thank you for supporting this story and helping us create our film!


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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    Thank you for your support! Every pledge is a vote for us to keep going, so thank you. By showing your support, you’ll receive special project updates and behind-the-scenes sneak peeks via email.

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    Ten bucks = awesome. We’ll send you a download of a screen saver image from the mountains of Mozambique, we’ll add your name to the Supporters page of the Lost Mountain website, and you’ll get the insider emails listed above.

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    Get the film! For $25 or more, you’ll receive a download of the completed Lost Mountain film in HD, in addition to the benefits above.

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    Thanks for the love! As a backer at $50 or more, you’ll get a download of the "short-run" of the original film score, an on-screen “thank you” credit in the film, the digital HD film download, and all the benefits above.

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    Your support means the world to us. At $100 or more we will send you a Mozambican capulana from our time in the field-- a beautiful printed fabric used for everything from table coverings to carrying babies. You’ll also receive an on-screen thank you credit in the film, the digital download, and the other perks above.

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    You are making this happen! At $150 or more we will send you a fine art image from the Lost Mountain shot by Andy Bardon. Add this 20X 30 print to an on-screen thank you credit in the film, the digital download, and the other perks above.

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    Get a Handcrafted Artisan Necklace from Kate! Supporters at the $250 or more level will receive all the perks above, plus one of Kate Rutherford's beautiful necklaces *as well as* a copy of the 2010 film Waypoint Namibia featuring Kate and Majka.

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    Five-hundred bucks = mega awesome. You’ll receive everything above plus a limited edition art print by Kate Rutherford inspired by our field time on Namuli.

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    Associate Producer credit. For supporting us at the $1000 or above level, we will include your name as an associate producer of the film, plus the benefits above.

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    Climbing weekend! Join either Majka or Kate for two days of climbing in Bend, Oregon (rock climbing), Boulder, Colorado (rock climbing), or North Conway, New Hampshire (rock or ice climbing). Plus you’ll get all the benefits above.

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    Thank you for making this project happen. For $5,000 or more, Majka or Kate will come to you -- most destinations in the US or Canada -- and give a live presentation to your friends, club, workplace, local bookstore or theater.. you name it. Plus you’ll get all the benefits above.

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    Join us! Want to help the search for new species of insects, frogs, and geckos? You're on the team with us in Mozambique and Malawi, plus all of the benefits above (and then some). International travel expenses not included.

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Funding period

- (30 days)