Mark Jenkins

Mark Jenkins is a seasoned climber and contributing writer for National Geographic;
his story “Last of the Cave People,” ran in February 2012. His books include A Man’s Life: Dispatches From Dangerous Places; The Hard Way: Stories of Danger, Survival, and the Soul of Adventure; To Timbuktu: A Journey Down the Niger; and Off the Map: Bicycling Across Siberia

Photo @coryrichards The rugged topography of northern Myanmar has yielded a month of crushing overland travel just to arrive at basecamp. Over 30 porters have aided us in the approach to Hkakabo Razi. Today is our last day before setting up our basecamp and moving on to the next phase of this journey. On assignment…

Follow our National Geographic-The North Face team on a seven-week expedition in Myanmar (Burma) to attempt to determine the tallest peak in Southeast Asia. The adventure will take them overland by plane, train, bus, and motorbike to begin a 300-mile round-trip jungle trek across tiger reserves, into plunging gorges, over raging rivers, and through cultural…

Follow our National Geographic-The North Face team on a seven-week expedition in Myanmar (Burma) to attempt to determine the tallest peak in Southeast Asia. The adventure will take them overland by plane, train, bus, and motorbike to begin a 300-mile round-trip jungle trek across tiger reserves, into plunging gorges, over raging rivers, and through cultural…

Follow our National Geographic-The North Face team on a seven-week expedition in Myanmar (Burma) to attempt to determine the tallest peak in Southeast Asia. The adventure will take them overland by plane, train, bus, and motorbike to begin a 300-mile round-trip jungle trek across tiger reserves, into plunging gorges, over raging rivers, and through cultural…

Navigations: Tombstone White

Read Mark Jenkins’s previous “Navigations” essays. We left the moraine and crossed onto the glacier. It was speckled with black stones that had plummeted down the Matterhorn’s east face. Some were small as fists, some big as barrels, but all had fallen thousands of feet at a fatal velocity. The glacier was gravity’s missile range,…

Navigations: Laisvé

It is one of the great regrets of travel: You meet someone on a journey, come to know them intimately in just a few hours, then never see them again. You promise to keep in touch, but it seldom happens. When you return home, your own life takes over, and so does theirs, and the…

Navigations: Marooned

Read Mark Jenkins’s previous “Navigations” essays. “They escaped into the jungle,” says Marvin, lifting his paddle from the hazel water and pointing toward the tangle of verdure. “Just running and running. Not knowing where to go. Not knowing what to eat. Lost and day by day starving and cut all over from the thorns, and…

Navigations: Last Stand in Tasmania

Read Mark Jenkins’s previous “Navigations” essays. I’m crawling on my hands and knees through a labyrinth of limbs when it occurs to me that a hundred years ago, this was the haunt of the Tasmanian tiger. The striped, doglike, carnivorous marsupial would have slipped easily through this criss-crossed deadfall of myrtle, sassafras, and musk. Six…

Read Mark Jenkins’s previous “Navigations” essays. “The big day,” John said. “Yup,” I replied, rubbing my eyes. It was three in the morning. We were standing on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon aiming the beams of our headlamps down the South Kaibab Trail—a mule-stomped trough of glistening ice running between snowbanks. The trailhead…

Navigations: The Snowcave

Read Mark Jenkins’s previous “Navigations” essays. This is the way we imagined it, Mike and I. Our kids in the mountains together, just as we were when we were kids. We talked about it whenever we were too far from home, on expeditions, lying on our backs in the tent when we should have been…

Navigations: The Path of Apprenticeship

Read Mark Jenkins’s previous “Navigations” essays. I glide through the forest. As I sink into each turn, the powder rolls up my thighs. My skis carve crescents through the open firs, neither fast nor slow but with ease, like a looping stroke of calligraphy. This is my third ski tour in Yellowstone. Today I skied…

Navigations: Leap Year

Read Mark Jenkins’s previous “Navigations” essays At last we alighted on the south coast of Spain. A family of four from America, traipsing through the Málaga airport with overstuffed daypacks and four bulging duffels, four bulging bicycle boxes, and two sturdy computer cartons. Disheveled and greasy with the residua of transit, so exhausted that our…

Navigations: The Liberty of Silence

“Navigations,” a new column published twice a month, offers a deep dive into a great adventure story by writer Mark Jenkins. Jenkins, a seasoned climber and contributing writer to National Geographic, has been on 50 expeditions to more than 100 countries to cover adventure and geopolitical topics such as the war in the Afghanistan, climbing 8,000-meter peaks in…