President and Owner
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…
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 and his tenth ascent on the Dawn Wall at the age of 41. 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.
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!