I call myself a climber because climbing made me who I am. I started in 1980. The more and harder I did it the better I became. I made first ascents on five continents, visited the Himalayas seven times, climbed icebergs floating off the Antarctic coast, and spent five years living and climbing in the French Alps. A few of my new routes have not been repeated, and one or two speed records remain unbroken. I climbed professionally for fifteen years. I took it as far as I was willing and then retired in 2000.

Punk rock attitude influenced my climbing as well as my writing; citing Gauguin and Joy Division, then shouting "no future" in the next sentence made me a novelty in a world better known for romanticizing the sport. My essays about climbing were published in seven countries, translated into five languages.

In 1998 I finally had the sack to write more than 4000 words. "Extreme Alpinism: Climbing Light, Fast and High" (1999), won the National Outdoor Book Award and the Mountain Exposition prize at the Banff Mountain Book Festival. When asked to describe it I call it a “How Not To” book because the best lessons in it came from trial, error and failure that I and my partners eventually turned into success.

In that same period I shot pictures for a living. I had editorial assignments from Men’s Journal, Esquire, Women’s Sports and Fitness, the excellent but short-lived Gravity magazine, as well as commercial clients, Early Winters, Fila, K2 Skis, K2 Snowboards, Helly Hansen, Patagonia, Kelty, Mountainsmith, and Montrail, among others.

In 2000 I rewrote 25 essays that had been published over a fifteen-year period, added a Y2K perspective as an author’s note to each, and named the collection, “Kiss or Kill -- Confessions of a Serial Climber" (2001). The book won the Mountain Literature prize at the Festival Banff and was short-listed at the Trento Mountain Book Festival in Italy. Kiss or Kill is available in Italian, Spanish, German, Polish, and Slovenian.

There are a few more details on my climbing career here.

Between 1997 and 2003 I shot pistols competitively. I had great mentors (Brian Enos, Rob Leatham) and wish I had repaid them by doing better than I did. That said I earned the Utah State USPSA Stock Gun trophy (C class) shooting a minor caliber in 2002. Later I did enough practical training at Gunsite, Range Master, and with E.A.G. Tactical so I didn’t make a fool of myself around military personnel. Some of that work resulted in the THUG aka the Twight Hard Use Gun pistol design built by Steve Morrison at MARS Armaments.

As the Technical Director of Mountain Mobility Group, LLC, I provided cold weather, high altitude, and fitness training, as well as R&D to the Department of Defense. In 2002 I was hired as the subject matter expert for development of the Protective Combat Uniform (PCU), a multi-layer, cold-weather system that pushed military clothing to the forefront of what was technically and philosophically cutting edge at the time. I also wrote the script for the training DVD and PCU was eventually fielded to all of SOCOM in 2004.

I am the founder and co-director of Gym Jones, a private strength and conditioning facility. We train fighters for MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition, and work with soldiers, firefighters, ultra-marathoners, professional snowboarders, NFL and NBA players, climbers, and bicycle racers, among others. As lead trainer, I prepared the actors and stunt crew for the Warner Brothers productions: "300" (2007), “Man of Steel” (2013), “300: Rise of an Empire” (2014), “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” (2015), and “Batman vs Superman” (2016). I am currently working simultaneously on “Wonder Woman” and  “Justice League”, due for release in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

I've quit counting on "no future" and learned to live with not knowing the future. Instead this site is a repository for things done and thought and written in the past.

Mark Twight
Mark Twight