Down to Nothing

Inside the Grueling Expedition to Climb Southeast Asia’s Highest Peak

October 2, 2015 Videos By Photo by The North Face & National Geographic

In October of 2014, a six-person team from The North Face and National Geographic hiked 100 miles through dense Burmese jungle to the foot of the unclimbed west ridge of Hkakabo Razi with the goal of obtaining a GPS coordinate from the mountain’s peak to cement its standing as the highest point in Southeast Asia. But the mountain was full of surprises. It was much colder than the climbers anticipated; routes planned out on Google Maps led to dead-ends, necessitating painful backtracking and loss of elevation. Hillier O’Neil, an athlete for The North Face and the leader of the expedition, said it was “the most stretched out and beaten down I’ve ever been.”

This 25-minute film documents a real expedition, free from the glamor and heroics of Hollywood. We see actual people struggling to deal with considerable problems. Combined with beautiful footage of the people and landscape of Myanmar, the video displays the humbling nature of such monstrous enterprises.