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Climber Mark Synnott

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Big-Wall Warrior Mark Synnott
Answers Your Climbing Queries

Q: I heard you were a cave-dwelling climbing bum in Yosemite for years. What should I look for when selecting a similar abode? Do I really have to live like Fred Flintstone to improve my climbing chops?

Washington, D.C.


Indeed, I spent a few years groveling under some dark, rat infested boulders in a certain well-known valley in California. I was in my early to mid 20s at the time and for a while I actually considered living there for the duration. Thank God I snapped back to reality. It gets old fighting with rats and ring tail cats on a nightly basis. If you are really serious about wanting to live in a cave, try to find one that stays dry in the rain. My biggest problem was getting soaked every time it stormed. In fact, it was the lack of dry accommodations that eventually led me to bail out to Colorado where I had to get a real job and start paying rent. And no, obviously you don't have to live in a cave to improve your climbing. However, not having to pay rent does mean you can work a bit less, or not at all, and this does leave more time for hobbies.

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Photograph by Gordon Wiltsie

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