Hi Hilaree. Congrats on being named a Nat Geo Adventurer of the Year! You have done some amazing expeditions, but what mountain is still left on your bucket list?
I would really love to still go to the antarctic. For me to ski on the peninsula and to climb and ski around the vinson massif has been a dream of mine for years.
was there ever a moment when you came close to death? weather yours or a friend you were hiking with? tell us about that
what was the most beautiful/gratifying breath you took? (in which moment of your hiking life did you feel most at peace with a rock face? top of a mountain? those moments in life when you take a deep breath and everything is beautiful and peaceful. that moment i am looking for :)
Yes- there have been several times when I was quite close to death. Many years ago, my closest friend at the time walked away from our lunch spot high on this peak in Mongolia. She immediately broke through the snow into a massive crevasse. She had skis on her backpack that hit the edge of the crevasse and threw her forward enough that she was able to get her ice axe into the far side of the ice. It saved her life. I had to shimmy to her on a rope on my belly to help push her out. It was pretty terrifying and I still to this day think about it a lot. 2) I would say that standing on top of Lhotse peak was possibly the most gratifying breaths I've taken. It was a beautiful day with a view of Everest. No other people around, id been awake for nearly 50 hours and everything felt at peace. Another amazing time was being on to of the auguille du midi with my kids in the spring of 2017. It was such an amazing experience to share my world with tim and see there excitement and awe of how powerful Mother Nature is and all the beauty of the snow, rock, and mountains.
Using LiDAR (short for “Light Detection And Ranging”), scholars digitally removed the tree canopy from aerial images of the now-unpopulated landscape, revealing the ruins of a sprawling pre-Columbian civilization that was far more complex and interconnected than most Maya specialists had supposed.
Where is this at?
What are some other species we should be paying closer attention to as far as our impact on their habitats?
The polar regions are being affected greatly, and penguins in Antarctica have experienced a couple of mass mortality events. Coral reefs are also under great stress and last year we lost 30% of all reefs. Plastic and pollutants in our oceans are having a very serious impact on whales and other marine mammals and then there is the trade of ivory. Not only elephants and rhinos being greatly impacted, other ivory-bearing wildlife, like narwhals are also being killed for their tusks in the Arctic. The list goes on and on. One that we can have an immediate and positive impact on is wild fish. Tuna, wild salmon, and sharks should be at the top of our list of concerns. CM
Hey I'm glad you give us an opportunity to interact with you!
I'm trying to reflect on what makes people react in different cultures.
To your knowledge, what subjects engage western people most?
I'm not going to beat around the bush: it's obvious a lot of people feel more empathy towards a dog being beaten to death or maybe a polar bear starving than watching millions of people suffering, even if the causes are similar (war, unsustainable consumption etc)
In your experience, are polar bears the best way to make people talk about environmental change/damage in the west? You're in a much better position to know!
Hi. I actually find that it is easier to create an emotional connection with the stories of people. In general, however, building empathy requires that we put ourselves "in the shoes" of another being and we tend to care about the fate of fellow humans because we understand suffering on the same human scale. Charismatic wildlife, like polar bears, generally get a better reaction than insects or non-fuzzy critters. Our job is to create that type of empathy for entire ecosystems that support not just wildlife, but the welfare of humans as well. Tough job! Thanks for your questions. CM
Did you try ayahuasca while shooting the most recent jaguar story for the magazine?
NO!!!!! I did not try ayahuasca.
I saw the bad that all the ayahuasca healing lodges have done around Iquitos - selling of jaguar parts - though the chinese are buying the canines. Tourist involved in the "healing" are buying jag skin wrist bands - jaguar teeth necklaces - etc. Where do you think these items come from - jaguars are now being killed way too often and this needs to be stopped. My job is to tell the story visually, about jaguars. Chip the writer was able to write a better story taking it - but we went to a real jaguar shaman - many are fueling the trade - are not locals with connections to the cat and culture.
Are there any historical findings asides the bible that show Jesus as a supernatural being or proves him as the son of God. Need this to clarify God being a jealous God and the trinity and also how Jesus is called God by some christians. Is christianity monotheistic or polytheistic according to history?
Thats a question of faith, not history
Until now, the earliest evidence found in what's believed to be the tomb of Jesus Christ dated back only about 1,000 years. These new results fall in line with historical accounts that the tomb was discovered by the Romans and enshrined around 326.
FYI, the writer of the story (our archaeology pro) will be here for an AMA tomorrow at 12 if you have questions!
How are your searches financed and how/what is the payout when you have success? I assume there are investors in these endeavors and I can’t imagine many people give out money without receiving something in return. Also, do you get any sort of royalties or anything when your work is used in any sort of commercial venture?
No I've never mounted an expedition for profit so I have never had "investors" Years ago when I made the decision that making lots of money would never be my goal in life. My God is not money, it's pursuing the truth where ever it takes me.
When I was a kid I used to spend hours staring at my step-father's issues of Nat. Geo. that featured artist renditions of the Bismarck and the Titanic shipwrecks you discovered. They were truly captivating paintings. Have you seen those paintings and would you say they accurately depict what the wrecks would look like if we could see them in their entirety?
I own the original oil paintings of those images done by Ken Marschall. Truly a gifted maritime artist. Several of those paintings are now on display at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley California which has an amazing exhibit telling the true story behind our discovery of the Titanic and its link to the cold war and the loss of the Thresher and the Scorpion. In fact I will be giving a talk there on December 12th Hope you come!
Hi Brent! Do you have specific communities you have established around the world, or mainly the places you travel for assignments, of people you trust and that can help you? You must have to work under the radar a lot and I’m wondering how you manage those uncertain human factors...
I'm fortunate to have built good relations in a number of places, my contacts are really essential. I do prefer to work quietly and to do that I keep only a very small circle of people around me when we are shooting. I think if you treat people with respect and really make an effort to dignify and understand their jobs, you can make friendships based on mutual respect
Hi Brent, how do you choose your projects and do you have advice for creative people who also want to make an impact? Thanks!
I choose my projects based on what I think is the greatest need. I am also asked to do projects which I feel I should do. Its a mix. As for creatives, I would say use any channel you can to get the word out. If you work for an agency, see if they can do some pro bono work on these issues. Try to help NGO's that deserve it. People like the EIA and the IAPF, but do your research first as to who is really effective. Creatives can be really valuable in raising public awareness, the biggest issue is ignorance on all sides