Climbing dream team Alex Honnold, Mark Synnott, and Jimmy Chin face rugged cliffs, knife-wielding thieves, and deadly waters as they traverse the globe searching for the next great rock to climb.
Jimmy Chin is a world-class climber and an ace behind the
lens—a combination of skills that has propelled him around the world to
capture images of the remote and extreme.
Chin was born in
Minnesota in 1973. His attraction to the climbing lifestyle began when
he was an undergraduate studying Asian studies at Carleton College in
During breaks he and his buddies would pile into the
car and head for famed crags in places like California's Joshua Tree
National Park. The freedom of the open road combined with the mental and
physical challenges of the climbing "got me totally hooked," he says.
college Chin moved to Jackson, Wyoming, where he patched together a
living from a string of odd jobs as he skied, climbed, and traveled the
world. Four and a half years ago, he picked up a camera to document his
After returning from a trip to Pakistan, Chin sold a
few of his photos and realized he had a career. "I didn't make a lot,
but at the time I thought it was a ton of money," he says. "Obviously, I
enjoyed my lifestyle, and I really enjoyed shooting too. It was a
Today Chin's portfolio and climbing skill regularly land him gigs with the likes of National Geographic magazine and National Geographic Adventure, the North Face outdoor equipment company, Climbing magazine, Outside magazine, and Men's Journal.
Alex Honnold is a professional adventure rock climber whose audacious free-solo ascents of America's biggest cliffs have made him one of the most recognized and followed climbers in the world. A gifted but hard-working athlete, Alex "No Big Deal" Honnold is known as much for his humble, self-effacing attitude as he is for the dizzyingly tall cliffs he has climbed without a rope to protect him if he falls. Honnold has been profiled by 60 Minutes and the New York Times, featured on the cover of National Geographic, appeared in international television commercials and starred in numerous adventure films including the Emmy-nominated "Alone on the Wall." Honnold is sponsored by The North Face, Black Diamond, La Sportiva, Maxim Ropes and Clif Bar. He is the founder of the Honnold Foundation, an environmental non-profit. And to this day, he maintains his simple "dirtbag-climber" existence, living out of his van and traveling the world in search of the next great vertical adventure.
In 1993, like many young people before him, Mark Synnott found himself graduating Middlebury College unsure of what his future would hold - specifically his career path. However, he was certain of one thing - he wanted to climb. This passion led him to find work as a carpenter, a job conducive to a transient lifestyle.
A few years later, a 39-day stint living on the side of the 4,700-foot north face of Polar Sun Spire, a rock tower rising from a frozen fjord in Canada's Baffin Island, changed his life forever. Thus in 1996, he began his quest to climb some of the biggest walls on the planet. He bid farewell to his days as a carpenter and never looked back.
Innumerable big wall and alpine climbing adventures have transpired since, taking Mark on adventures to places like Pakistan, Nepal, India, China, Tibet, Oman, Alaska, Newfoundland, Baffin Island, Greenland, Iceland, Guyana, Venezuela, Patagonia, Chad, Cameroon, Borneo and Pitcairn Island. In addition to his big wall exploits, Mark is also an accomplished free climber, enjoying long adventure trad climbs, such as the infamous "Stratosphere" in Colorado's Black Canyon or the east face of Mt. Babel in the Canadian Rockies. He has on-sighted 5.12 and red-pointed 5.13. Equally comfortable on ice and mixed as he is on rock, Mark has climbed high-end winter routes across the U.S., Canada, Europe and Scandinavia.
As passionate about skiing and ski mountaineering as he is about climbing, Mark appeared in the 2001 Warren Miller film "Cold Fusion," skiing off Mt. Waddington and Mt. Combatant in British Columbia. More recently, he snagged the first descent of a 5,100-foot couloir on Baffin Island's highest peak, Mt. Odin.
When he's not in the mountains, Mark works with The North Face's research, design and development teams. He's also a successful freelance photojournalist and the author of Baffin Island: Climbing, Trekking and Skiing. His articles and photos have appeared in numerous publications in the United States and abroad, including National Geographic, Men's Journal, Outside, Climbing, Rock & Ice, Skiing and New York magazine. Mark is an AMGA certified guide and the owner of Synnott Mountain Guides (www.synnottmountainguides.com), a climbing school based in his hometown of Jackson, New Hampshire.