Expedition Burma

 The Six Lessons of Leadership


Mark Jenkins was the writer for the 2014 National Geographic/The North Face Expedition to far northern Burma. His feature story about this expedition, “Point of No Return,” was published in the September 2015 issue of National Geographic Magazine.

The goal of this expedition was to climb the highest peak in Southeast Asia---19,350-foot Hkakabo Razi---the most remote mountain in the world. Hkakabo Razi, a heavily-glaciated peak rising from steaming green jungles, had only been climbed once. Closed for decades because of conflict, it had taken Jenkins years to get a permit for this peak.

The expedition began with an arduous 10-day overland crossing of Burma, followed by a grueling 15-day march through the jungle. Things started going wrong almost immediately. Permits and porters failed to arrive; leeches bloodied the climbers’ bodies, spider bites caused measles-like rashes, venomous snakes were a constant threat. By the time they reached the base of this unknown mountain, everyone was physically and mentally exhausted. The team was unraveling---and now they had to climb.

This is a thrilling 50-minute presentation about hardship and hope, the death of close friends, and the risks of being emotionally, technically or intellectually unprepared. Using National Geographic photography, Jenkins takes the audience on an epic expedition in which bad decisions lead to bad consequences. During this hellish journey, Jenkins discovers and defines the Six Lessons of Leadership that are requisite for any endeavor to succeed.