Majka Burhardt on Climbing in Ethiopia
I first knew Majka Burhardt as a fiction writer when we were both grad students. Others knew her first as the climber on the other end of the belay, or the columnist voice dispensing stories in a favorite outdoors magazine, or as the guide that led them on a mountaineering expedition.
Now that Majka’s published her first book, those many identities are coming together.
The books called Vertical Ethiopia: Climbing Toward Possibility in the Horn of Africa It follows four female climbers who traveled to the sandstone peaks in northern Ethiopia. Nobody had climbed these towers before these women determined to literally chart new territory in a field dominated by men. In narrative vignettes and brilliant photography, Vertical Ethiopia reflects on what it means to interact intimately and physically with the landscape of another country.
In a unique international collaboration, Vertical Ethiopia is printed by Shama Publishing, an Ethiopian press committed to creating a new narrative of the country. Half of the book’s print run is designated for sale in Addis Adaba.
Majka has an MFA in Creative Writing from the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and an anthropology BA from Princeton University. A guide for nearly a decade, Majka has led a range of climbing disciplines, from high-altitude mountaineering expeditions to multi-pitch alpine rock climbs. She lives (most of the time) in Boulder, CO.