Mark Synnott@m_synnott

National Geographic Writer - The North Face Athlete - Big Wall Climber - Ski Mountaineer - IFMGA Guide - Rigger - Storyteller - Sailor - Dad

https://www.thenorthface.com/get-outdoors/never-stop-exploring-speaker-series.html

325 posts 16,072 followers 370 following

For some reason I had never gotten around to this one. Kind of glad I saved it for all these years. So nice to cover new ground on my home cliff - and to share some brotherhood of the rope with @scottdaniellee.


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While waiting for a weather window for our sail to Grand Manan, I took James Pearson (@onceuponaclimb) to Lubec, Maine. Here lies a magical seacliff called Quoddy Head, home to a historic route called Maniac. Its first ascent was in 1984 by a then 28 year old from Cape Porpoise, Maine named Dan Goodwin (@skyscraperman). Goodwin had a unique introduction to the sport - his first route was an onsight freesolo of High Exposure (5.6) in the Gunks in 1978. He discovered Quoddy Head shortly thereafter while raking blueberries in Cherryfield, Maine. Goodwin would develop several routes on Quoddy Head, including Maniac, which took him dozens of tries spaced over two summers of blueberry picking. He rated the climb 5.13d, making it a contender for the hardest rock climb in the world. Perhaps it's not surprising that there were (and still are) doubters. I first heard about Maniac in the late 90s while climbing in Acadia. It was whispered that the climb might be a hoax. I went to have a look for myself in 2011 on my way home from Newfoundland with @alexhonnold @hazel_findlay. The route was above my pay grade, but I helped replace the old rusty bolts and I was there when Honnold made the route's second ascent on his second day of effort. Alex told me at the time that he thought the grade was around 5.13d. Hazel later made the third ascent and said it was "harder than a lot of 5.13c's." Afterwards I called Goodwin, who told me that he used to curl the heavy buckets of blueberries to build up his forearms, and, that in the months leading up to his successful redpoint, he traveled out west where he climbed Grand Illusion (5.13b/c) and Sphinx Crack (5.13b). I never figured out why anyone doubted Goodwin, but it may have been nothing more than people finding it hard to believe that an unknown climber from Maine could establish one of the hardest climbs in the world on a foggy mysterious seacliff on the easternmost tip of the United States. Now James has added the latest chapter to the story. On our way home from Gand Manan he red pointed Maniac, once again confirming the grade. 📸 @pablo_durana


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Sailing the Grand Manan Channel in a 20-25 knot northeasterly under jib and jigger. Thanks @onceuponaclimb for the capture. It was probably the one moment when @erikosterholm and @pablo_durana weren't filming up on the foredeck. @thenorthface @zpzproduction #neverstopexploring


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Somebody got bigger while I was away. Another great pic by this little man's momma @hamptonkew


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Bitter sweet. But on the bright side, we are storing Camelot with Moose Island Marine in Eastport, Maine this winter. This means we will have no choice but to pick up where we left off. Can't wait to continue the adventure next summer. Cobscook and Passamaquoddy Bay, the Saint John River, the east and south coasts of Nova Scotia..and beyond. Thanks to everyone who supported us this round - I'm calling this trip one my best ever. Kind of inspiring to realize how much there is to explore so close to home. In addition to the sailing adventure, James Pearson (@onceuponaclimb) and I established six new routes on Grand Manan, four on the bullet hard rock of the Bishop (which is Acadia/Quoddy-esque) and two on the scary basalt death choss, of which the island has an unlimited supply. James' highlight was a 5.12d or 5.13a trad route and mine was a classic mixed face/crack climb on which I placed three bolts (James rated it 7a+). Hope the family is ready because you're all coming on the next round. @thenorthface @onceuponaclimb @zpzproduction @matthewsynnott @skitheeastcoast @hamptonkew #lilla #tbone

Shackford Head State Park
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Head Harbour, Campobello Island, New Brunswick


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The Bay of Fundy


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James Pearson (@onceuponaclimb) enjoying the sun rising over Head Harbor Light, Campobello Island, NB.


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Sad to say goodbye to Grand Manan. I told James I think this is the best trip I've ever done. We put up two more new routes yesterday on the Bishop. Next stop Head Harbor, Campobello Island. @thenorthface @onceuponaclimb

Swallow Tail Lighthouse
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Planning the next leg of our voyage and waiting for a weather window. @thenorthface @onceuponaclimb

Grand Manan Island NB
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