The Third Pole: Mystery, Obsession, and Death on Mount Everest (Hardcover)
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*One of the 57 Most Anticipated Books Of 2021—Elle
Shivering, exhausted, gasping for oxygen, beyond doubt . . .
A hundred-year mystery lured veteran climber Mark Synnott into an unlikely expedition up Mount Everest during the spring 2019 season that came to be known as “the Year Everest Broke.” What he found was a gripping human story of impassioned characters from around the globe and a mountain that will consume your soul—and your life—if you let it.
The mystery? On June 8, 1924, George Mallory and Sandy Irvine set out to stand on the roof of the world, where no one had stood before. They were last seen eight hundred feet shy of Everest’s summit still “going strong” for the top. Could they have succeeded decades before Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay? Irvine is believed to have carried a Kodak camera with him to record their attempt, but it, along with his body, had never been found. Did the frozen film in that camera have a photograph of Mallory and Irvine on the summit before they disappeared into the clouds, never to be seen again? Kodak says the film might still be viable. . . .
Mark Synnott made his own ascent up the infamous North Face along with his friend Renan Ozturk, a filmmaker using drones higher than any had previously flown. Readers witness first-hand how Synnott’s quest led him from oxygen-deprivation training to archives and museums in England, to Kathmandu, the Tibetan high plateau, and up the North Face into a massive storm. The infamous traffic jams of climbers at the very summit immediately resulted in tragic deaths. Sherpas revolted. Chinese officials turned on Synnott’s team. An Indian woman miraculously crawled her way to frostbitten survival. Synnott himself went off the safety rope—one slip and no one would have been able to save him—committed to solving the mystery.
Eleven climbers died on Everest that season, all of them mesmerized by an irresistible magic. The Third Pole is a rapidly accelerating ride to the limitless joy and horror of human obsession.
About the Author
Mark Synnott is a twenty-four-year member of the North Face Global Athlete Team. He is also an internationally certified mountain guide and a trainer for the Pararescuemen of the United States Air Force. A frequent contributor to National Geographic magazine and has written for Outside, Men's Journal, Rock and Ice, and Climbing, he is the author of The Impossible Climb. He lives in the Mt. Washington Valley of New Hampshire.
“As in his previous book, the author’s writing comes alive when he recounts life on the mountain...this is a must-read for outdoor enthusiasts and readers of Everest and exploration history.”
—Library Journal, starred review
“[A] hair-raising mountaineering story...A fine tale of adventure and exploration sure to please any fan of climbing and Everest lore.”
—Kirkus, starred review
“Synnott weaves back and forth between the early climbing pioneers' experiences and his 2019 expedition, harrowing in its own right. A gifted storyteller, he proves firsthand the irresistible lure and perilous dangers of climbing Mount Everest.”
“The Third Pole is an elegy of extremes, a white-knuckle tale of obsession and survival. From the archives of London’s Royal Geographical Society to a tent battered by howling winds on the edge of the Death Zone, Mark Synnott puts it all on the line in his quest to solve Mount Everest’s most enduring mystery.”
—Susan Casey, author of national bestsellers The Wave and Voices in the Ocean, former editor in chief of O, The Oprah Magazine
“A hundred-year-old detective story with a new twist. A high-altitude adventure. The best Everest book I’ve read since Into Thin Air. Synnott’s climbing skills take you places few will ever dare to tread, but it’s his writing that will keep you turning pages well past bedtime.”
—Mark Adams, author of the critically acclaimed Tip of the Iceberg and NYT bestseller Turn Right at Machu Picchu
“Join Mark Synnott on a quest for an artifact that could change Everest mountaineering history. Part detective story, part high adventure, Synnott engages obsessed historians, dodges Chinese bureaucrats, and ultimately risks his life high on the mountain’s north face. As the tension rises, he discovers astounding strengths in his fellow climbers, tragic frailty, and an ineffable truth he never imagined.”
—Andy Hall, author of Denali’s Howl and former publisher of Alaska Magazine