We eagerly followed along Renan Ozturk‘s intermittent dispatches from Myanmar when he and The North Face climbing team led by Hilaree O’Neill were attempting to summit Hkakabo Razi in Myanmar, considered Southeast Asia’s highest peak at the bottom of the Himalayan range. Their adventure was chock full of unexpected challenges and realizations, both physical and mental but also emotional. Trekking the Burmese jungles with no end in sight, having to shed half of their gear and then attempting to summit a mountain that has only ever been officially summited once before, all while running dangerously low on food and stamina just so they could definitively answer the geographic mystery of which mountain is tallest.

Some might wonder “why bother?” — but we know the answer. All of us know why, deep down.

Here’s the official description from The North Face:

“This harrowing expedition pushed a group of mountaineers to the mental and physical brink; carving them down to nothing. A six-person team from The North Face and National Geographic attempted to summit an obscure peak in Myanmar (Hkakabo Razi) to determine if it is Southwest Asia’s highest point. The expedition members, led by The North Face athlete and Telluride mountaineer Hilaree O’Neill include, videographer Renan Ozturk, climber Emily Harrington, and National Geographic author Mark Jenkins, photographer Cory Richards, and basecamp manager Taylor Rees.”

More from the expedition:
Read blogs from the athletes in the field @ neverstopexploring.com/expeditions/myanmar/
See more from them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook with #MyanmarClimb.
Watch the behind the scenes edit from National Geographic @ bit.ly/1MAYL4A
Read Mark Jenkins’ article in National Geographic @ bit.ly/1MAYU7S