We’ve climbed on every continent and in most of the major mountain ranges of the world. No other climbing school in New England has a stronger roster of guides. Our goal as professional mountain guides is to expand your skills and knowledge base, while keeping you safe and ensuring that you have a lot of fun along the way. Whether you're working through a crux move or enduring 70 mph winds on Mt. Washington, we love sharing our knowledge, enthusiasm and passion for this sport with you. From beginner to expert and all levels in between, SMG has the perfect guide to help you achieve your mountain climbing and life goals.
Mark Synnott, 44, is renowned in the climbing world for his many big wall and alpine climbing adventures. His travels have taken him on nearly 30 expeditions to places like Alaska, Baffin Island, Greenland, Iceland, Newfoundland, Patagonia, Guyana, Venezuela, Pakistan, Nepal, India, China, Tibet, Russia, Cameroon, Chad, Borneo, Oman and Pitcairn Island. One of the first climbers to explore Baffin Island's remote east coast, Mark has been on five trips to the island, and has pioneered four big wall first ascents in the area, including a grade VII on the 4700-foot north face of Polar Sun Spire -- an epic wall that required the team to spend 36 nights in portaledges. Two years later, Mark returned to the same area with a team of North Face Athletes to produce a big wall climbing documentary for the National Geographic Society -- one of six National Geographic sponsored expeditions he has participated in. In the Karakoram, 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 6000-foot wall topping out over 20,000 feet (completed with Jared Ogden and Alex Lowe in 1999) is one of the longest rock climbs in the world. As a free climber, Mark has tackled notorious adventure routes like the East Face (5.11+R) of Mt. Babel in the Canadian Rockies and Stratosfear (5.11+R) in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. At the crag he has onsighted 5.12 and redpointed 5.13. In Yosemite, Mark has climbed El Capitan 22 times, including one days ascents of the Nose, Tangerine Trip, Lost in America and the West Face. In 1997 he snagged the coveted second ascent of El Capitan's hardest route, the Reticent Wall (A5). Equally comfortable on ice and mixed terrain as he is on rock, Mark has climbed Grade 6+ testpieces in the Candian Rockies, France, and Norway.
When he's not in the mountains, Mark works with The North Face Research, Design and Development team and lectures frequently on his life of adventure. He has done motivational speaking for clients like General Motors, Bank of New York, the Vanity Fair corporation, and the National Geographic Society. 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, and Rush HD. Mark has written many articles over the years and his work has appeared in National Geographic, National Geographic Adventure, Men's Journal, Outside, Climbing, Skiing, New York Magazine and many other publications in the US and abroad. In 2007 he published his first book: "Baffin Island: Climbing, Trekking, Skiing." Synnott Mountain Guides was born in 1997, and the business has grown steadily every year. Today Mark and his guides have successfully trained hundreds of aspiring climbers. In 2004, Mark began the process of attaining certification from the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA). He was certified in the Rock discipline in 2006 and attained his Alpine certification in September, 2009. He is working diligently now on the Ski certification, and is hoping to attain the coveted IFMGA guide status in the next two years. Mark is also a long time member of Mountain Rescue Service (MRS) A- team, and in 2012 was elected to the MRS board of directors. He has also a been board member of the Access Fund since 2009.
Jim is a native of Mount Washington Valley, where he learned an appreciation for the mountains at an early age. He was on skis by the age of 4, and in 1982 started climbing waterfall ice at the age of 14. While still a teenager, Jim established what was then the hardest technical rock climb in New England, with his historic first-ascent of Cathedral Ledge's Liquid Sky. His exploits on rock have been documented in feature articles in Climbing and Rock and Ice magazines, as well as the films Master's of Stone II and Uncommon Ground. He has ventured to the top of remote peaks in Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Baffin Island, Patagonia and Peru, and pioneered new, hard routes throughout New England and the Rocky Mountains. In addition to working as guide for the past 30 years, Jim is one of the world's most accomplished adventure cameramen. His career behind the camera has led him to shoot television programs for all the major networks, as well as feature documentaries, commercials, and action sports. He has worked with a diverse portfolio of clients that includes National Geographic, Warren Miller Entertainment, Discovery, MTV, The North Face, Patagonia, Eddie Bauer, Peter Jennings Productions and others. From Mount Everest to Antarctica, Jim has operated cameras in the world's most extreme environments, keeping up with world-class athletes and adventurers to get his shot. Jim's experience as an expert climber and skier allows him an inside perspective on the places and personalities he captures on film. Jim's mountain skills enable him to single-handedly rig his own shots without the need of a large crew. He has worked as a camera operator for Discovery Channel's hit show, The Deadliest Catch; National Geographic Explorer's Surviving Everest; NBC's Great Trango: A Mile High in Pakistan; and Matchstick Production's Claim, filming extreme skiing in the Alps. In 2010, Jim partnered with pro-skier Chris Davenport to produce the independent adventure film Australis: An Antarctic Ski Odyssey. For more info check out Jim's website at GraniteFilms.com.
With 46 years of climbing experience and 25 years working as a guide, Paul Cormier is one of most experienced mountain guides in New England. In the White Mountains, where he has been climbing since he was a kid, Paul has more than 150 first ascents on both rock and ice. His knowledge of our local peaks is unparalleled. Further afield, Paul has led guided expeditions to Tanzania (Kilimanjaro), Argentina (Aconcagua, Tronador) and Ecuador (Cotapaxi, Chimborazo, Antisana, and Illaniza North and South). Paul has been on ten expeditions to Bolivia and has climbed so many peaks that he can't remember them all. A partial list includes: Hauyna Potosi, Piramide Blanca (2nd ascent of the American Route - East Face), Pequeno Alpomayo, Cabaza de Condor, a significant attempt on the east face of Illampu, Parinacota, Wila Llojeto, Jankho Huyo, and Tiquimani (possible 1st ascent of west wall). Personal trips have taken him to Patagonia, British Columbia, Yosemite (El Capitan, Half Dome, etc), Zion (Prodigal Son), and a 45 day traverse of the Chilliwack Range in the North Cascades. Additionally, Paul has been a guest guide for Exum Mountain Guides in Teton National Park (1998 and 2001). He also guided on Mt. Rainier, Mt. Shasta and in Chamonix, France. Paul has taken the AMGA Advanced Rock Guide's Course. He is Level 2 certified by the American Avalanche Institute, holds a current WFR, and is certified as a High Angle Rescue Specialist by Peak Rescue Institute. Paul is also the president and a team leader with AVSAR (Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue) and a member of MRS (Mountain Rescue Service) in North Conway.
Scott Lee is an AMGA certified rock instructor with a passion for teaching others how to be safe and efficient on ice, rock, and in alpine terrain. Scott has climbed extensively throughout the United States, climbing routes up to 5.11 and grade 5 ice. He has gone to 20,000ft in Bolivia and climbed numerous routes in British Columbia. Locally he has extensive knowledge of the climbing history, the local heroes, and the topography of the cliffs. Scott lived in Utah for 8 years; ski mountaineering in the Wasatch Mountains, and ice and rock climbing throughout the West. The lure of white water led him to many multiday kayak and rafting trips, most notably a self supported expedition down the Grand Canyon and rafting Class 5 on the Apurimac River in Peru. Scott is SPRAT Level 2 Rope Access Technician and Wilderness and Winter Care First Responder. He is an active member of the Mountain Search and Rescue team, and is trained in Swift Water Rescue by the City of San Diego. Scott has built his own green private residence and is a professional businessman by trade. He lives with his wife and teenage son in North Conway, NH. This is Scott's fourth season with Synnott Mountain Guides.
Jean Lee is a certified PSIA ski instructor who has taught hundreds of people how to rip it. Living in Salt Lake City for 16 years, she spent four winters as a ski patroller in the Wasatch Mountains, each year owning the record for people taken off the mountain. She has hands on, high danger, avalanche experience and has logged 300+ days in the backcountry, doing snow analysis, and skiing the steep and deep. Jean has biked solo across the US, has rafted the Grand Canyon, and has rock climbed hundreds of routes around the USA. Since moving to New Hampshire, Jean is almost completed the 4000fters, has nordic, alpine, and backcountry skied extensively, rode and raced mountain bikes, and succeeded in triathlons and endurance events. Being married to a climber and guide has taught her how to be a better one. This is her third winter guiding for Synnott Mountain Guides.
Sean Lorway is an AMGA Certified Rock Instructor. Drawing on over 20 years of climbing experience on all types of terrain, from general mountaineering to sport, trad, ice and aid climbing, Sean strives to provide his clients with the most rewarding experience possible. His resume includes everything from long traditional rock climbs in Yosemite, Red Rocks and the Tetons, to steep technical ice and alpine climbs in the Rockies and the Alps. Sean brings an intimate knowledge of the White Mountains to Synnott Mountain Guides and is an ideal person to help you achieve your climbing goals.
Ryan Howes, 30, is a professional guide and educator who strives to provide his guests with high quality and rewarding experiences. He is known for his abundant energy, good cooking, tasty beverages, love for American poetry and all around healthy living. Ryan is a certified AMGA Rock Instructor and has completed the AMGA Alpine Guides Course, Ice Instructor Course and AIARE Level I. He is a certified Wilderness First Responder and has completed an EMT Basic course. Ryan is a Leave No Trace Trainer and strives to take good care of our recreational resources. He has spent the past twelve years becoming a human guidebook of Maine and New Hampshire's rock and ice climbing, and has been a member of the Lincoln High-Angle Search and Rescue Team (responsible for rescues on Mt. Katahdin) since 2006. Ryan recently became a Licensed Maine Recreation Guide, which allows him to take you to Maine's backcountry areas on overnight trips. He has taught in college and university settings and a variety of outdoor programs. He holds an M.S. in Experiential Education and a B.S. in Adventure Education Leadership and Adventure Therapy. Ryan is dedicated to your climbing education, as well as his own. In the coming years he plans to continue with the AMGA curriculum with a goal of attaining IFMGA status in the next few years. No matter what objectives are on your mind Ryan looks forward to helping you reach for success. "The mountains are calling so I must go" -- John Muir
Dustin Cormier, 25, grew up in the White Mountains and has been climbing and skiing since he was a kid. His uncle Paul Cormier took him under his wing at a young age and they still climb and adventure together today. When Dustin is not guiding or doing treework, he can be found roaming the Whites where he has been exploring and pioneering new rock climbs, many on out of way cliffs that most people don't even know exist. Beyond New England, Dustin has climbed and skied extensively in the Wasatch, the Rocky Mountains, The Tetons, the Sierras, the Canadian Rockies, the Coast Range of British Columbia, and the Alps. Dustin's guiding experience also includes Bolivia, where he has guided on peaks such as Pequeno Alpomayo, Piramide Blanca, Wila Llojeto, Jankho Huyo, Parinacota and Ancohuma. Dustin started guiding for SMG four years ago and has become an integral member of our team - someone we can count on to lead any course, from advanced ice and mixed climbing, to glacier travel and crevasse rescue. Dustin's goal as a guide is to give people an experience that helps them love and respect the mountains as much as he does.
Joe Consavage, 42, has been climbing for 20 years and guiding for SMG since 2009. At age 18, in search of adventure, Joe moved to Alaska to work in the fishing industry. From Alaska Joe moved to Colorado where he worked in the ski industry for six years and spent his free time climbing and skiing many of Colorado's 14,000 foot mountains, as well as traveling extensively across the west. For the past 15 years Joe has been based in the White Mountains where he continues to pursue his passion for backcountry skiing, climbing and mountain running. He has climbed and/or run all of New Hampshire's 4000-foot peaks and has skied off 30 of them. Few people can keep up with Joe in the hills when he's trying to move fast, and he routinely wins his age group n the local Kismet Cliff Run. Some of Joe's local claims to fame include climbing Cannon Cliff, Pinnacle Buttress in Huntington Ravine, Cathedral Ledge and Whitehorse Ledge -- all in a single 12 hours push, including drive time. He has completed a girdle traverse of Whitehorse Ledge in 2 hours and climbed Thin Air on Cathedral Ledge in 10 minutes. Joe holds a current WFR and has taken the AMGA Rock Instructor and Single Pitch Instructor (SPI) courses. When he's not in the mountains, Joe is a gourmet chef for the White Mountain Cider House and has an intense passion for cooking. You are in for a treat if you get him as a guide for a course with an overnight.
Chris "Grammy" Graham has been climbing for 25 years and guiding for 22. He is a Wilderness First Responder and a long time member of AVSAR (Androscoggin Search and Rescue). In addition to his prolific new routing in the White Mountains, Grammy's travels have taken him to Yosemite, Tuolumne Meadows, Red Rocks, the Tetons, and Smith Rocks. Internationally, Grammy has climbed in Peru, Ecuador and various European venues. He is known for his thoughtful, patient, and thorough style of teaching, and his wide selection of guiding techniques. So whether you are new to climbing and just want to see if you like it, or you are looking to take your rock, ice or alpine abilities to the next level, Grammy will help you to achieve your climbing goals.
Nick Aiello has been climbing New England's rock and ice for nearly a decade, since he first battled it out on Cathedral Ledge's Recompense at age 15. The skills Nick learned and mastered here in New Hampshire have armed him with the experience needed on his many trips to the Cascades and Alaska. He's spent more than two months of his life on Denali, over three expeditions (one personal, two guiding), reaching a highpoint of around 19,000' via the steep Messner Couloir. Nick has also spent time climbing Mt. Rainier, and in the Central Alaska Range's Ruth Glacier, but he still enjoys a cold day climbing Cannon's Black Dike, or guiding alpine rock on Mt. Katahdin, in northern Maine.
Charlie started climbing around 1976, and has been guiding professionally for over thirty years. While he spends the majority of his time on his favorite cliffs and crags of the White Mountains, he has also been pretty scared in the Adirondacks, at the Gunks, and on innumerable bits of rock and ice throughout the continental US. He has enjoyed many successful climbs in the Canadian Rockies, but also endured an equal number of epics there. He spent three winters climbing in Scotland, there was a trip to Ama Dablam, some forays to the Cascades, token visits to Red Rocks and Yosemite, and trips to several other destinations that didn't seem to make much impression, apparently. Over the years, Charlie remains most proud of his record in Alaska. He has summited Mt. Hunter via both the West Ridge and the Moonflower Buttress, managed the second ascent (1st alpine-style) of Mt. Foraker's striking Talkeetna Ridge, and enjoyed climbs or attempts on Mt Huntington, Mt. Barille, the Moose's Tooth, and a bunch of those routes in Little Switzerland. With his longtime climbing partner and brother-in-law, it took Charlie three attempts to finally snag the first ascent of Mt. Russell's East Face, where the key to success turned out to be their descent by paraglider. Charlie's passion for climbing education saw him getting on board with the American Mountain Guides Association quite early on. He became an AMGA Certified Rock Instructor before they even called it that, and he was instrumental in building up the Accreditation and Single-Pitch Instructor programs during two terms on the AMGA Board of Directors. He remains one of a handful of SPI Provider Trainers in the country, and when you combine that role with his nearly three decades in management with the EMS Climbing School, Charlie has assisted dozens and dozens of climbers in their quest to become professional guides. He has been on the NH Mountain Rescue Service for over 25 years, with most of that time also serving as a board member. Charlie is a Wilderness First Responder, a Level 2 certification-holder through the American Avalanche Institute, a parent of two wonderful daughters, a championship curler, and a beekeeper. Notably, he and his wife took Second Place in the town-wide 2012 Egg Toss Competition in Tamworth NH, where they live. For their efforts, they received a fine ribbon, which remains on display in their home.
Joan grew up in Andover, Massachusetts. She worked as a software QA engineer in Cambridge for a number of years while raising her son. She took him for a climbing lesson one day many years ago, and loved it so much she decided to become a guide. When her son graduated from school and left home, Joan sold the townhouse, quit her software job and moved to North Conway to climb and guide, and has worked in that capacity for many years. Aside from her broad range of technical skills, Joan has a special gift of helping people of all ages and abilities become comfortable in the wilderness. Joan enjoys climbing rock and ice, hiking, and backcountry skiing. She has climbed all over New England, in the southwestern deserts, in Alaska and in the Ecuadorian Andes. She also has a passion for song writing and storytelling and is a member of the Mountain Storyteller's guild in Conway, NH. When she's not out on the cliffs, Joan works as a registered nurse. She lives off the grid in nearby Brownfield, Maine in a post-and-beam home that she helped build. Certifications AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Wilderness First Responder Member of the NH Mountain Rescue Service Member of Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue
More about SMG director and owner Mark Synnott
Education Middlebury College, VT B.A. in philosophy 1993 Dean's list 1990, 1992; College Scholar 1993 Alumni Achievement Award 2001
Climbing Magazine Senior Contributing Editor
The North Face Climbing Team member Technical Consultant to Product Development
Freelance Photojournalist My work has appeared in: National Geographic, National Geographic Adventure, Outside, Men's Journal, Climbing, Skiing, Unlimited, and many other publications.
National Geographic Magazine April-July 1998 -- climbing talent for documentary on Baffin Island big wall first ascent.
National Geographic Television April-July 1998 -- climber/videographer for documentary on Baffin Island big wall first ascent August 1998 -- chief rigger/climbing talent for documentary shot in Iceland December 1999 -- climber/expedition leader for documentary on freeclimbing in Cameroon July 2000 -- chief rigger for documentary shot in British Columbia
NBC Television June-August 1999 -- climber/videographer/expedition leader for documentary on climbing Great Trango Tower in Pakistan
Warren Miller Films June 2001 - climber/skiing talent for climb and ski descent from the NW summit of Mt. Waddington, Coast Range, BC
Media Presentations I present approximately 20 slide shows a year
Awards/Grants Piolet D'Or NW face of Great Trango Tower nominated in 1999 Mugs Stump Award 1996 for ascent of Polar Sun Spire in Baffin Island AAC Mountaineering Fellowships to Baffin island 1995, 1996 National Geographic Expeditions Council Grant for 1999 Cameroon Rhumsiki Tower expedition, 2003 Mt. Roraima expedition, and 2005 Pitcairn Island expedition
Sponsors The North Face, La Sportiva, Metolius, Sterling Ropes, Petzl, Clif Bar
Baffin Island The Great and Secret Show VII 5.11 A4 WI3 North Face of Polar Sun Spire (first ascent) Crossfire VI 5.10 A4 South Face of Great Cross Pillar (first ascent) Nuvualik VI 5.10+ A3+ West Face of the Turret (single push: 40 hrs/with fixing; first ascent) Rum and the Lash VI 5.10 A4+ Northwest Face of Sail Peak (first ascent)
Karakoram, Pakistan The Ship of Fools VII 5.11 A2 WI6 Northeast Face of Shipton Spire (first ascent) Parallel Worlds VII 5.11 A4 Northwest Face of Great Trango Tower (first ascent of NW Face and West summit)
Patagonia The Compressor Route 5.10 A1 Cerro Torre (27 hours from Norwegian camp) SCUD 5.11, 7 pitch direct start to Exocet, Cerro Stanhardt (attempt) Attempted first alpine style ascent of Fitzroy's 2200m Slovak Route on west face Nepal Attempt on North Face of Jannu (25,294 feet) Alaska Shaken Not Stirred, west face of Moose'sTooth, Alaska Range, (reached middle summit, 6 hrs. on route) The Dream in the Spirit of Mugs V 5.10c, west face of the Eye Tooth (24 hours r/t) Cameroon The Great Technical Adventure 5.12d Rhumsiki Tower (first ascent, 10 pitches, redpointed route) Bugaboos The Shooting Gallery VI 5.10 A2+ West Face of North Howser Tower (led every pitch; first ascent) Beckey-Chouinard V 5.10 Southwest Pillar of South Hower Tower Canadian Rockies East Face of Mt. Babel IV 5.11 (15 hrs. car to car) East Ridge of Mt. Temple East Ridge of Mt. Edith Cavell Yosemite El Capitan: 22 ascents including 2nd ascent of Reticent Wall (A5) and single pushes on Lost in America (24:47; 2nd fastest), Tangerine Trip, Lurking Fear (9+ hours), Nose (13:45), and West Face Regular Northwest Face VI 5.10 A2 Half Dome (one day) Lost Arrow Spire Direct VI 5.11 A3 Yosemite Falls Wall Misty Wall VI 5.10 A3 Yosemite Falls Wall West Face V 5.10 A2 Leaning Tower (single push: 7 hrs.) South Face V 5.10 A1 Washington Column Steck-Salathe V 5.9 Sentinel Chouinard-Herbert V 5.11+ Sentinel Direct North Buttress V 5.10 Middle Cathedral
Black Canyon of the Gunnison Stratosfear VI 5.11+ R Painted Wall The Dragon Route VI 5.10 A4 (first winter ascent of Painted Wall) Paint it Black VI 5.11 A3+ North Chasm View Wall (2nd ascent, winter) Air Voyage V 5.12a North Chasm View Wall Scenic Cruise V 5.10 + North Chasm View Wall Goss-Logan V 5.11 R North Chasm View Wall Astro-Dog V 5.11+ South Chasm View Wall Southern Arete V 5.10+ Painted Wall
The Desert Southwest The Ball and Chain VI 5.10 A4 North Face of Angel's Landing, Zion (3rd ascent, led every pitch) The Sundevil Chimney VI 5.9 A4 The Titan, Fisher Towers Colorado NE Ridge V 5.9 A2 King Fisher, Fisher Towers The Kor Route V 5.10 A3 Steamboat Rock, Dinosaur National Monument (3rd ascent) Approximately 20 desert tower free routes Selected Ice Routes Acid Howl, Canadian Rockies WI 6+ The Terminator, Canadian Rockies WI 6+ Les Miserables, Canadian Rockies WI 6+ Gramusat Direct, Tete Du Gramusat, France WI6+ Hydnefossen, Hemsedal, Norway WI 6+ Mixed Routes Manchurian Refuge M7+ Trollville, NH (first ascent) Cold, Cold World M8+ Eagle Cliff, NH (2nd ascent) Snake LipM8 Trollville, NH (first ascent) Diaper Rash M7 Trollville, NH (2nd ascent) The Mongol M8 Trollville, NH (1st ascent)(first ascent)
Free Climbs Best on-sight: 5.12b Best redpoint: 5.13b
Synnott Mountain Guides holds a current permit to guide in the White Mountain National Forest, and we are fully insured by K&K.