New Hampshire Climbing & Skiing Guides
Synnott Mountain Guides is owned and led by IFMGA certified guide Mark Synnott. We’ve climbed on every continent and in most of the major mountain ranges of the world. No other climbing school in the Northeast has a stronger roster of guides. Photo by Jimmy Chin of Mark climbing in Oman.
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 Mount Washington, we love sharing our knowledge, enthusiasm and passion for this sport with you. From beginner to expert and all levels in between, Synnott Mountain Guides has the perfect guide to help you achieve your mountain climbing and life goals.
Owner & Guide
Mark Synnott is renowned in the climbing world for his many big wall and alpine climbing adventures. His travels have taken him on nearly 30 expeditions, ranging from big walls of Baffin Island to the scorching hot Ennedi Desert. Mark has pioneered four big wall first ascents on Baffin Island, 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. In the Karakoram, Mark has 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 at 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 onsighted 5.12 and redpointed 5.13. In Yosemite, Mark has climbed El Capitan 22 times, including one day ascents of the Nose, Tangerine Trip, Lost in America and the West Face. 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.
Despite his numerous trips to exotic destinations around the world, Mark is passionate about climbing and skiing in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. If you spend some time on Cathedral Ledge in the summer or on Mount Washington in the winter, you'll probably run into Mark.
When he's not in the mountains, Mark works with The North Face Research, Design and Development team. 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.
AMGA/IFMGA Certified Mountain Guide
In 2016, Mark attained the highest level of certification from the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA). The AMGA’s American Mountain Guide Certification is the highest level of credential attainable by a professional mountain guide, and is an achievement recognized in more than 20 International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA) member countries. Mark is also a long time member of the Mountain Rescue Service (MRS) A Team, and in 2012 was elected to the MRS board of directors.
As an IFMGA certified guide, Mark is available for custom guided trips to a variety of locations across the US and world. Please inquire for details.
Jim is a native of North Conway, where he learned an appreciation for the mountains at an early age. He was on skis by the age of 4 and 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 Hampshire, with his historic first ascent of Liquid Sky (5.13b) on Cathedral Ledge. Subsequent years saw him pioneering new hard routes throughout New England and the Rocky Mountains.
Jim has ventured to the top of remote peaks in Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Baffin Island, Patagonia, Peru, and has climbed to 8000m on Mount Everest.
In addition to working as a guide for the past 30 years, Jim is one of the world's most accomplished adventure cameramen. 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 is a team leader for Mountain Rescue Service (MRS) and is a Wilderness First Responder (WFR).
For Nick Aiello-Popeo, New Hampshire has been the ideal training ground for climbing across North America. From bigwall rock climbs in Yosemite to icy Alaskan peaks, it all began with experience gleaned from nearly two decades in the White Mountains. Living with his wife just south of Conway, Nick splits his time between home and trips to places like the Rockies, Sierra, Cascades, and the Central Alaska Range. Since 2010, Nick has spent every spring climbing and guiding in Alaska, completing around a dozen expeditions up Denali (20,310’), as well as many other technical alpine climbs on nearby peaks. Nick’s favorite climb is Ham and Eggs (AI4, 5.9, 2,900’) on Alaska’s Mooses Tooth. You can check out some of Nick’s photography and writing in Alpinist Magazine.
Nick's Certifications & Training:
- Wilderness First Responder (WFR) and formerly worked as an urban EMT
- AIARE Level 3 Certification & AIARE Course Leader
- North Conway Mountain Rescue Service (MRS) member
Joe Consavage has been climbing for 20 years and guiding for Synnott Mountain Guides since 2009. He has lived in Alaska, Colorado (skiing many of Colorado's 14,000' peaks), and has traveled extensively across the western United States.
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 4,000' 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. Some of his 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 is currently a Wilderness First Responder (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 Company 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.
Sean was hooked on climbing at age 14, the moment he tied in on the ancient cliffs of Ireland’s west coast with his older cousin, renowned climber Con Moriarty. Later, while studying Urban Forestry at UMass Amherst, he became involved with the outing club and made regular trips to climb in the the White Mountains. Sean’s passion for climbing rock and ice has brought him far and wide in search of adventure...from the Rockies to the Alps, from the Desert Southwest to Patagonia. He also has numerous ski descents of both the east and west sides of the Presidential Range and loves combining ski and climbing skills in pursuit of an objective.
Some of Sean’s notable ascents include:
- Ames Ice Hose (WI5 M6R) in Colorado
- Crack of Doom (5.11c) in Idaho
- North Ridge Mt Conness (solo) in the High Sierra
- Serenity Crack, Sons of Yesterday, and Lost Arrow Spire in Yosemite
- Prodigal Son (aid) in Zion National Park and multiple accents of Epinephrine (5.9) in Red Rock, Nevada
- Mont Blanc in the Alps and Cerro Principal in Patagonia
Sean's credentials include:
- certified Rock Instructor with the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA)
- AIARE level 2 avalanche training
- Wilderness First Responder (WFR)
With a focus on safety and good decision making, Sean is a guide with a wide variety of experience to draw on. He has a patient, methodical, and articulate approach to teaching and guiding. When not out climbing mountains, Sean can be found climbing trees for his Bartlett, NH based business Emerald Tree Experts, and is an MCA and ISA Certified Arborist.
- Recompense & Diedre on Cathedral Ledge, Atlantis on Whitehorse Ledge, Moby Grape on Cannon Cliff, and Mechanics Route on Mt Washington
- Repentence on Cathedral Ledge
- Central Couloir on Mt Webster
- ski into Huntington Ravine, ice climb a gully, traverse the Alpine Garden, and make a ski descent in Tuckerman Ravine
With 48 years of climbing experience and 26 years working as a guide, Paul Cormier is one of most experienced mountain guides in New Hampshire. In the White Mountains, he has more than 150 first ascents on both rock and ice with unparalleled knowledge of our local peaks.
Personal trips have taken him to Katahdin, Patagonia, British Columbia (Bugaboos), Yosemite (El Capitan, Half Dome, Leaning Tower, Washington Column, Middle & Higher Cathedral), Zion (Prodigal Son), and a 64 day traverse of the Chilliwack Range in the North Cascades. Paul has guided in Grand Teton National Park, Mount Rainier, Mount Shasta, and Chamonix. Further afield, Paul has led guided expeditions to Tanzania (Kilimanjaro), Argentina (Aconcagua, Tronador) and Ecuador (Cotapaxi, Chimborazo, Antisana, 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, Sajama, Piramide Blanca (2nd ascent of the American Route - West Face), Pequeno Alpomayo, Cabaza de Condor, a significant attempt on the east face of Illampu, Parinacota, Wila Llojeto, Jankho Huyo, Ancohuma, Illimani, and Tiquimani (possible 1st ascent of West Face).
- American Avalanche Institute - Level 2
- Wilderness First Responder (WFR)
- Peak Rescue Institute - High Angle Specialist
- Team Leader - Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue (AVSAR)
- Member - Mountain Rescue Service (MRS)
Steve is an active outdoorsman whether guiding at Synnott Mountain Guides or out on a rescue with Mountain Rescue Service where he serves as President. He has been climbing for 30 years and guiding for 16. Away from the cliffs, Steve has been a self employed mason and steeplejack for 18 years.
- American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) SPI certified
- Wilderness First Responder (WFR)
- swift water rescue - Level IV
- successfully completed over 100 winter Presidential Traverses
- climbed routes to 5.10, A4, and grade 5 ice
Steve's other interests include: skiing, sea-kayaking, hunting, trapping, farming, fixing old tractors, and fishing for large fish on light tackle.
Dave (nickname Lambo) grew up in New Hampshire and has been climbing, skiing, and exploring Northeast peaks for over fifty years. Amongst his accomplishments are 300+ winter ascents of Mount Washington and five 1st place finishes in the Tuckerman Inferno Pentathlon. The terrain and challenges of the Presidential Range have prepared him for one of his passions - Adventure Racing (AR). Dave and his team have won the AR National Championships two times and participated in the World AR championships. Additionally, his team has raced in the Interlaken region of Switzerland and on the south island of New Zealand. Comfortable on and off trail, Dave loves to grab a map and compass and head out for a route finding "bushwhack" mission to explore the untracked side of the mountains. Having raced around the world, he has always gravitated towards the vistas and challenges of the alpine region with climbing trips to Alaska's Chugach State Park, the Rockies, and New Zealand. In addition to climbing, Dave is an accomplished ski mountaineer, cyclist, runner, paddler, navigator and sailor.
Dustin Cormier grew up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire 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 White Mountains where he has been exploring and pioneering new rock climbs, many on remote cliffs that most people don't even know exist. Beyond New England, Dustin has climbed and skied extensively in the Wasatch Range, the Rocky Mountains, the Tetons, the High Sierra, 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 is an integral member of the SMG 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.
Scott Lee is an American Mountain Guides Association (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 climbed to 20,000' in Bolivia and climbed numerous routes in British Columbia. Scott lived in Utah for 8 years, ski mountaineering in the Wasatch Mountains, and ice & rock climbing throughout the West. The lure of whitewater led him to many multi-day kayak and rafting trips, including 3 self supported expeditions down the Grand Canyon and rafting class 5 on the Apurimac River in Peru. Scott lives with his wife (guide Jean Lee) and son in North Conway, New Hampshire.
- SPRAT Level 2 Rope Access Technician
- Wilderness and Winter Care First Responder
- member Mountain Rescue Service (MRS)
Manager & Guide
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. Charlie 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, and visits to Red Rocks & Yosemite.
Over the years, Charlie remains most proud of his record in Alaska and has summited Mt. Hunter via both the West Ridge and the Moonflower Buttress. He 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 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 joining the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) 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 (SPI) 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. Charlie has two wonderful daughters, is a championship curler, and a beekeeper.
- member Mountain Rescue Service (MRS) for over 25 years (most of that time also serving as a board member)
- Wilderness First Responder (WFR)
- American Avalanche Institute - Level 2
- 2nd Place - Tamworth, NH 2012 Egg Toss Competition
Jean Lee is a certified PSIA ski instructor who has taught hundreds of people how to ski. Living in Salt Lake City for 16 years, she spent four winters as a ski patroller in the Wasatch Range gaining hands on avalanche experience in high danger terrain. Jean has biked solo across the US, has paddle boarded the Grand Canyon twice, and has rock climbed hundreds of routes around the US. Since moving to New Hampshire, Jean has completed the 4000' peaks and has nordic, alpine, and backcountry skied extensively in the White Mountains. Jean lives with her husband (guide Scott Lee) in North Conway; she runs the Yoga House North Conway and is a Justice of the Peace.
Chris "Grammy" Graham has been climbing for 25 years and guiding for 22. He is a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) and a long time member of Androscoggin Valley Search and Rescue (AVSAR). In addition to his prolific new routing in the White Mountains, Grammy's travels have taken him to Yosemite, Tuolumne Meadows, Red Rock, 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. 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.
- Physician Assistant (graduated 2014)
- American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) certified Rock Instructor
- Advanced Wilderness Life Support certified
- AIARE - Level I
Favorite climbs in New Hampshire:
- Crack in the Woods
- Drool of the Beast
- Parasol Gully
- or any long ice/mountaineering adventure
Ryan began winter camping and mountaineering in the White Mountains of New Hampshire at the age of sixteen. For some reason, these ill-prepared and terribly executed winter camping trips solidified his love for the mountains. Present day, Ryan has been technical climbing for over a decade and is as excited as ever to get out and climb. His favorite activity is climbing in the bigger mountains and this interest has taken him to the North Cascades, Alaska, and the Canadian Rockies. Guiding is an opportunity for Ryan to share his excitement for the mountains and he loves every minute of it. Plus, when you go out for a day with Ryan, you get the knowledge gleaned from his years of making mistakes and suffering needlessly. When not climbing, you can find Ryan trail running and hanging out with his best friend Rupert, who is a dog.
- East Ridge of Mount Temple (IV, 5.7, Mod. Snow), Canadian Rockies
- Season of the Sun/East Ridge Linkup (V, AI4, M6), Ruth Gorge, Alaska
- The Technical Traverse (WI4, 23 Miles, first enchainment of 5 ravines and a Presidential Traverse in a 20 hour push), Presidential Range, NH
- Wilderness First Responder (WFR)
- AIARE Level 2
- AMGA Rock Guide Course and Ice Instructor Course
- AMGA SPI Certified
Sam has been climbing for 21 years with a wide range of experiences:
- rock climbing all over the US and in other countries
- ice climbing in New England
- alpine climbing in Argentine Patagonia and the Canadian Rockies
- putting up new ice and rock routes in New England, Newfoundland, and Chile
- guiding in the Mount Washington Valley for the past 12 years
- Wilderness First Responder
- BS in Adventure Recreation from Green Mountain College
- 2008 AMGA Rock Instructor Course
- 2nd ascent of Cerberus 5.13a - Cathedral Ledge, NH
- Unemployment Line M9 at Toko Crag - Madison, NH
- FA Betrayer of Hope V 5.12 Blow ME Down, Newfoundland, Canada
- FA Winged Eel Fingerling 5.12d - Woodchuck Ledge, NH
- First integral ascent of Gardens of the Galaxy (5.11c A0, 26 pitches), Cochamó, Chile