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Mark gunlogson

Mark Gunlogson

Pres­i­dent and Owner

markg@mountainmadness.com

Much like his pre­de­ces­sors, Mark is no stranger to high alti­tudes, extra­or­di­nary life expe­ri­ences, and a pas­sion for climb­ing. The climb­ing bug hit Mark hard at age 15. As an ado­les­cent he took every oppor­tu­ni­ty he could to get out into the Olympic and Cas­cade Moun­tains of Wash­ing­ton State to stretch his skills. If oppor­tu­ni­ties didn’t come his way, he cre­at­ed them, round­ing up friends to join in on the fun. Lat­er, with a degree in Envi­ron­men­tal Sci­ence in hand, Mark eschewed tra­di­tion­al employ­ment and instead went off to pur­sue the world’s peaks. 

Like many a climber, Mark sup­port­ed his pas­sion by cob­bling togeth­er jobs whose com­mon thread was often adven­ture. He worked as a fish­eries biol­o­gist on Kore­an fish­ing boats in the stormy Bering Sea, wrote for climb­ing pub­li­ca­tions, taught ski­ing, and worked on con­ser­va­tion projects in South Amer­i­ca, just to name a few. Then came guiding…

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The Silent Come­back” — read Alan Arnet­te’s inter­view with Mark about Moun­tain Madness

Mark start­ed guid­ing in 1987 and has since led trips on all sev­en con­ti­nents, reach­ing the high­est peaks on six. He start­ed work­ing with Moun­tain Mad­ness in 1994. In addi­tion to guid­ing, he devel­oped the company’s pro­grams in South Amer­i­ca, strength­ened the guide stan­dards, and even­tu­al­ly man­aged all day-to-day oper­a­tions dur­ing Chris­tine Boskoff’s often lengthy climb­ing expeditions.

Mark’s climb­ing achieve­ments include ten trips up Yosemite’s El Cap­i­tan, start­ing with an ascent of the dif­fi­cult Shield route in 1983 when he was 23. His 35+ big wall exploits include Mount Pro­boscis in the North­west Ter­ri­to­ries and Mount Hooker’s north face orig­i­nal route in the Wind Riv­er Range. In Asia and the Andes, his more dif­fi­cult ascents include the first Amer­i­can ascent of Bha­gi­rarthi III in India via the Scot­tish Pil­lar in 1992, the North­east But­tress Kwande Shar and the Bibler/​Freer route on Lobu­je (both in Nepal), and the South­west But­tress of Huan­doy Sur in Peru. Before his 1990 ascent of Pik Lenin in Kyr­gys­tan, Mark assist­ed in res­cue efforts after an avalanche swept down and buried 43 climbers at Camp 2, all of whom per­ished — one of the worst moun­taineer­ing acci­dents in his­to­ry. Clos­er to home in Seat­tle, he has made hun­dreds of ascents in the Cas­cades and Olympics.

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With these many years of dif­fi­cult climb­ing came a tenac­i­ty and strong sense of com­mit­ment that would serve him well for weath­er­ing the chal­lenges Moun­tain Mad­ness faced as a busi­ness. The gaps left with the unfor­tu­nate loss of both Scott and Chris­tine were not insignif­i­cant and required care­ful nav­i­ga­tion to keep the com­pa­ny on course.

In 2006, Moun­tain Mad­ness own­er Chris­tine Boskoff died in an avalanche in Chi­na. With the same com­mit­ment and focus that he brings to climb­ing, Gun­log­son led the com­pa­ny through the sad and chal­leng­ing times that fol­lowed, even­tu­al­ly becom­ing the own­er of Moun­tain Mad­ness in 2008.

Today, Moun­tain Mad­ness has emerged as one of the most expe­ri­enced moun­taineer­ing com­pa­nies in the world, with top notch teams in the field and behind the scenes. To keep the com­pa­ny at the fore­front of its indus­try, Mark is always keen to chase down new adven­tures, whether it’s lead­ing a group in Ugan­da’s Rwen­zori Moun­tains to climbed the fabled peaks of the Moun­tains of the Moon and vis­it the moun­tain goril­las, vis­it­ing the Huaoroni indige­nous peo­ple deep in the Ama­zon Basin, set­ting-up pro­grams in Colom­bi­a’s remote San­ta Mar­ta range along­side the Kogi tribe, or scal­ing the rock faces in Wadi Rum, Jor­dan. The com­pa­ny also con­tin­ues to increase its com­mit­ment to respon­si­ble trav­el, and to its work with char­i­ta­ble orga­ni­za­tions in the coun­tries in which it operates.

Above all, Mark enjoys lead­ing a com­pa­ny that’s about shar­ing the chal­lenge, beau­ty, and joy of out­door adven­tures and encour­ag­ing every­one to live their dreams — now get out there and make it happen!