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Climber Mark Synnott

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Big-Wall Warrior Mark Synnott
Answers Your Climbing Queries

Q: Recently my buddy and I started the rock climbing deal. We've made a point of getting to real rock at least once a week and have used other peoples' climbing gyms in town.

The problem is, my buddy just received an excellent job offer and soon will be leaving. I really want to get good. But as much as I've spoken with other athletic friends, I'm having a hard time finding a climbing buddy.

This makes rock climbing impossible, because I really need to be taking measurable risks in order to improve via the aid of a good belayer. There are rock climbing clicks in town but the aren't easily aligned with or penetrated. Any tips?

—Brent Fremming,
Clovis, California


Yours is a dilemma that I hear frequently, often from the guys that I guide. In fact, I have one client who is really quite a good climber, but he climbs with me because he just can't find good partners. You are lucky though, because you happen to live near the best place in the universe to find motivated partners—Yosemite Valley. Are you spending much time up there? It sounds like you are serious about climbing, so I'd recommend you pack up the vehicle and start heading to the Valley every weekend. Better yet, quit your job and head up there permanently. OK, I know, this is unrealistic, but I guarantee it would solve your problem. Yosemite is full of misfits who've had a hard time assimilating into normal society…but they climb like spiders. So don't despair, the right partner will come along eventually; it's just a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Good luck.

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Photograph by Gordon Wiltsie

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