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Mark Synnott

Big Wall Climber. Best-Selling Author. The North Face Athlete.

Mark Synnott

Suffice it to say, Mark Synnott has it going on. Thankfully, nobody told him he couldn’t climb and write and host and film and sail and explore.  Mark is a New York Times best-selling author, a pioneering professional climber and one of the most prolific explorers of his generation. His search for unclimbed and unexplored rock walls has taken him on more than three dozen expeditions to places like Alaska, Baffin Island, Greenland, Iceland, Newfoundland, Patagonia, Guyana, Venezuela, Pakistan, Nepal, India, China, Tibet, Uzbekistan, Russia, Cameroon, Chad, Borneo, Oman and Pitcairn Island. Closer to home, Mark has climbed Yosemite’s El Capitan 24 times, including several one-day ascents.

Mark was one of the first climbers to conduct a thorough exploration of the remote east coast of Baffin Island, in Arctic Canada. He has pioneered four big wall first ascents on the island, including a grade VII on the 4700-foot north face of Polar Sun Spire. This epic route, called The Great and Secret Show, required the team to spend 36 nights in portaledges. In Baffin’s Auyuittuq National Park, Mark completed the first ski descent of the South Face of Mt. Odin, via a 5,000-foot couloir. In Pakistan’s Karakoram mountains, he established two grade VII big wall first ascents—The Ship of Fools on Shipton Spire and Parallel Worlds on Great Trango Tower. The latter, a 6,000-foot wall topping out over 20,000 feet, which he completed with Jared Ogden and the late Alex Lowe, is one of the longest rock climbs in the world.

Mark has also led five exploratory scientific expeditions to the Amazon jungle alongside renowned biologist Dr. Bruce Means. Their work together is featured in the Disney+ special, The Last Tepui.

In the spring of 2019, Mark summited Mount Everest via the Northeast Ridge, an adventure chronicled in his book The Third Pole: Mystery, Obsession and Death on Mount Everest. More recently, Mark sailed through the Northwest Passage, from southern Maine to Nome, Alaska, aboard his 47’ sailboat, SV Polar Sun. The story of this 4-month 6,736 mile voyage is told in Mark’s soon to be released fourth book, Into the Ice: Lost Explorers, Frozen Dreams and New Realities in the Northwest Passage.

When he's not in the mountains, Mark works with The North Face Global Athlete Team (of which he has been a member for more than 25 years) and he is highly sought after as a storyteller and motivational speaker.  Mark has also worked extensively in the film and television industry, both in front of and behind the camera. His credits include work for National Geographic Television, Disney, NBC Sports, ABC, Warren Miller Entertainment, Teton Gravity Research and Red Bull Media House. An accomplished journalist, Mark is a regular contributor to National Geographic magazine, and is the author of the international bestseller, The Impossible Climb: Alex Honnold, El Capitan and the Climbing Life.

Mark is also an IFMGA certified mountain guide, a long time SAR member, first responder, and a trainer for the Pararescuemen of the US Air Force and other US Special Forces. When he’s not clinging to a rock face or exploring the world aboard the SV Polar Sun, you’ll find him with his family on a  dead-end dirt road, in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

“If you’re only going to read one Everest book this decade, make it The Third Pole.”

Outside magazine

Mark Synnott

Beyond the Horizon

From pioneering big wall climber to best-selling author and master storyteller for National Geographic and Disney, Mark has spent his career searching for the places where adventure and exploration collide with science and culture.  Journey from the depths of Uzbekistan’s Dark Star cave to the North Face of Everest with one of the world’s most prolific climbers.  Mark’s technical support for expeditions worldwide has helped scientists reach the “Last Honey Hunter” in Nepal and discover a new frog species in South America’s remote Tepuis.

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Photos: courtesy Mark Synnott

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