Down to Nothing
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National Geographic Live

Omaha Performing Arts Down to Nothing with mountaineer Hilaree O’Neill Holland Performing Arts Center National Geographic

In 2014, Hilaree O’Neill led a National Geographic team on one of mountaineering’s most harrowing expeditions. Accompanied by photographer Cory Richards’ dramatic photos and clips from filmmaker Renan Ozturk’s “Down to Nothing,” O’Neill offers a riveting first-person account of the pitfall-filled journey up Hkakabo Razi, a hidden peak in Myanmar that nearly broke this elite group of climbers.


In the fall of 2014, a hidden peak in Myanmar nearly broke an elite group of climbers. On one of mountaineering’s most dangerous journeys, a five-person team of National Geographic explorers, photographers and filmmakers traveled 300-plus miles overland, across tiger reserves, into plunging gorges and through the remotest cultural areas, in an effort to reach and ascend Hkakabo Razi. The team’ goal: to determine once and for all if the mountain summit was Southeast Asia’s highest point.

What unfolded was a harrowing expedition that pushed the group to the brink mentally and physically. Led by mountaineer Hilaree O’Neill, the team encountered one pitfall after another: interminable overland train rides, sketchy motorcycle trips in the rain, hellish jungle slogs, dwindling food supplies, logistical failures, howling winds, false summits, hypothermia, perilous gendarmes and — perhaps the most menacing of all — personality clashes that threatened to unravel the expedition.

O’Neill offers a riveting first-person account of an expedition leader forced to balance strong personalities with tough decisions. Her behind-the-scenes stories are accompanied by Nat Geo photographer Cory Richards’ dramatic stills and clips from filmmaker Renan Ozturk’s “Down to Nothing,” a searing story about the motives that drive people to tackle the insurmountable, the suffering they’ll endure for their dreams and the cracks that can appear in even the best laid plans.


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