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Majka Burhardt Completes the Southern Crossing

June 9th, 2009

Majka Burhardt, Osprey sponsored athlete, climber, and author recently completed the Southern Crossing: a 1300-foot 5.11+, grade 5 rock climbing first ascent on the Brandberg – Namibia’s highest peak. Here is a taste of her trip from her piece “Namibia: Big Walls, Desert Mirages, and Perseverance in the Darmaland and Beyond”.

Forty-two days ago, I went to Namibia expecting to climb, explore, and push my understanding of how curiosity, ambition, and adventure work vis-a-vis culture. I knew all of these components would come into play during the month long trip, I just didn’t know the formulation. In the north, where we’d originally planned to climb the most, our best moments came from sitting in the shade of an Acacia tree with a group of Himba women painted in red ochre and butterfat. Himba, Afrikaans, English, Spanish and Portuguese were spoken, but often hand gestures and figures drawn in the sand gained us the vital information we sought. Further south, on the Brandberg, we scraped through the dirt, bushes, and bird refuse that guarded our prospective line for three days to get to what we hoped would be a way up. Each day, we looked for a way for this country, the “easy Africa,” to give us portals to a higher stance, a greater understanding, or a smooth road. We eventually found all of them.

For the rest of the story on Majka’s Namibian journey, check out her personal site here.

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