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Life on the Vertical

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Mark Synnott is a man ever on the brink of new discovery. A big wall rock-climber of the highest order, he’s made legendary first ascents of some of the world’s tallest, most forbidding walls, from Baffin Island to Pakistan. It’s all in the spirit of adventure and exploration in order to educate about these sites of strange, remote beauty. He’ll share his stories from the cliffs, from the importance of trust in your teammates to life and leadership on the vertical.

Contributors

  • Mark Synnott

    Mark Synnott, author of “The Impossible Climb”
    Mark Synnott is a New York Times bestselling author, a pioneering big wall climber and one of the most prolific adventurers of his generation. His search for unclimbed and unexplored rock walls has taken him on more than 30 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 extensively explore the remote east coast of Baffin Island, in Arctic Canada. He 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, Mark 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, is one of the longest rock climbs in the world. Most recently, in the spring of 2019, Mark summited Mount Everest via the Northeast Ridge.

    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 two decades) and he is highly sought after as a storyteller and motivational speaker. His client list includes General Motors, Bank of New York, VF Corp, the X Prize Foundation and National Geographic. 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, NBC Sports, 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 national bestseller, The Impossible Climb: Alex Honnold, El Capitan and the Climbing Life and Baffin Island: Climbing, Trekking, and Skiing

    Mark is also an IFMGA certified mountain guide, a long time SAR member and first responder and a trainer for the Pararescuemen of the US Force.