Majka Burhardt has a passion for creating unusual connections. As an author, professional climber, filmmaker, and entrepreneur, Majka has spent two decades exploring the globe—usually by hand and foot—and her stories of challenge, humanity, and the fine line between extreme and acceptable risk continue to inspire audiences everywhere. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Legado, an international organization working to protect the world’s most threatened mountain ecosystems by empowering the peope who call them home.

Majka has 19 years of experience producing multi-stage international ventures focused on current issues of cultural and global significance. Her first book Vertical Ethiopia: Climbing Toward Possibility in the Horn of Africa (2008) was short‑listed for the Banff Book Award. Her second book, Coffee Story: Ethiopia, was released in August 2011 and featured by Starbucks in 2013. In 2010, Majka produced Waypoint Namibia and the film was featured at international film festivals and shown on NBC’s Universal Sports. Majka was nominated for an EPIC Emerging Artist Award for her work as the Executive Producer.  Her newest film, Namuli, was released to international acclaim in 2016. Namuli tells the story of Majka’s climbing and conservation research Mount Namuli, Mozambique’s second highest mountain and a critical target for conservation in southeast Africa– and of the origins of Legado.

As a keynote speaker, Majka addresses a diverse group of organizations and companies. Her clients have included Google, Nespresso, the Commonwealth Club, Banff Film and Book Festival, Colorado Environmental Coalition, universities and colleges throughout North America, and many others.

Her work and projects have been featured in The Economist, Outside Magazine, The Weather Channel, NPR and many other major international media outlets. Majka’s articles have appeared in publications including Afar, Men’s Health, Skiing Magazine, Backpacker, Patagonia, Alpinist, Women’s Adventure, The Explorers Journal, and Climbing, where her column “Whipped,” ran for six years. Majka’s blog, The Liminal Line, can be found here, on her website.

Majka has a MFA in Creative Writing from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers and received her BA in Anthropology from Princeton University (cum laude) in 1999. She is an ambassador/athlete for Patagonia, Petzl, and Julbo. She is an American Mountain Guides Association Certified Rock Guide and and served on the the organizations’ Board of Directors for six years. Majka lives in New Hampshire with her husband, Peter Doucette, and their twin children. Curious how to say her name? It’s “My-ka.”

Photos: James Q Martin