• The Third Pole

  • Mystery, Obsession, and Death on Mount Everest
  • By: Mark Synnott
  • Narrated by: Steve Campbell
  • Length: 12 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, World
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (316 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

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 800 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. Listeners 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. 

*This audiobook includes a downloadable PDF containing maps, notes on sources, and acknowledgments from the printed book. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2021 Mark Synnott (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

One of the 57 Most Anticipated Books of 2021 - Elle 

Summer's Most Transporting Books list - Newsweek

One of 5 Action-Packed New Nonfiction Books for Summer - AARP

Ultimate Summer Reading List Pick - E!

“Almost 70 years after my father Tenzing Norgay Sherpa climbed the summit of Chomolungma with the British 1953 Expedition, Western narratives about Mount Everest continue to be haunted by the question whether it was Mallory and Irvine who had been the first to stand on the summit. Mark Synnott’s The Third Pole pursues this mystery and brings us closer to closing this chapter of mountaineering history. I learned a lot from this book.” (Norbu Tenzing Norgay)

“[A] vivid, heart-pounding dispatch from the top of the world.” (Liz Baker, NPR) 

"This account of climbing Mt. Everest from the Tibetan side in search of a climber lost 97 years ago and a camera that might change everything is both a gripping adventure story and an engrossing historical mystery." (Maggie Shipstead, author of Great Circle

What listeners say about The Third Pole

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

This is not a book about the search for Sandy Irvine

Mark Synnott deserves nothing but respect for summiting Mt Everest. Still Im disappointed by this book and feel misled. The actual search for Irvine is dealt with only in the last few pages and only on one exact spot. No detailed search parties, on the contrary the team prefers summinting over searching. In that sense its just another Everest book. Which ends with a rather ‘cheap’ rumour on what happened to Irvine which I found hard to believe and lacks any serious research (when, how etc.) you dont learn anythong new if you read other books on the topic. Disappointed

12 people found this helpful

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Interesting but not a classic

This is an interesting mountaineering story but far from a classic. There’s far too much unrelated fluff included, such as an entire chapter about a British Indian female climber who runs into trouble on Everest. The audio performance is excellent, I would like to hear more books read by Steve Campbell.

The book is also unnecessarily anti-China.

9 people found this helpful

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Riveting

My heart was pounding the final 1 1/2 hours of this audio. Because this expedition was so recent and there was a two fold quest, I was completely absorbed in both Mark’s personal story and the 1924 story of Sandy Irvine & George Mallory.

5 people found this helpful

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compelling

an amazing story that draws you in told in a way that makes you interested even if you cared little for mountain climbing before picking up this book!
I devoured this book in 2 days because I just needed to know what happened next...
there are a few tangents that offer little to the story, but they are still interesting...

Steve Campbell is a great choice to voice this book, his voice is so easy to listen to that you just relax and enjoy the story.
truly impressive performance

3 people found this helpful

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Awesome! Great book!

This has definitely had a profound impact on my young adult dream to go up Everest. I dont necessarily want to do that but would love to still go to Nepal. I loved all the history of the mountain and definitely those who bravely explored before anyone else. 5 out of 5 stars recommend this book!!🏔🏔

2 people found this helpful

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Absolutely a nail biter

Well-written and very suspenseful without any over dramatizing by the author. He tells the stories of two expeditions to Everest separated by a century, and yet they are very much linked. Lots of fascinating information about history, human biology, and politics.

2 people found this helpful

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excellent

This was a good read from start to finish. The story kept me interested, going back and forth from present day to the 1920s. Lots of great stories hidden within! I liked especially that the author thoughtfully addressed all the Everest chaos, the reasons that people climb Everest, the recent controversies regarding overcrowding, and the changing roles of Sherpa.

1 person found this helpful

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good narrator, story fascinating and well perform

good narrator, story fascinating and well performed by Steve Campbell. I highly recommend it.

1 person found this helpful

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Terrific read. Great mystery. There is still adventure in the world.

I loved this book. Great history. Great mystery and terrific modern day adventure. I would recommend this book to anyone in search of a journey.

1 person found this helpful

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One of the best Everest books out there

This book is definitely in the top three of the best Everest books ever written. Well researched and written by a man who's been through it. The author has great pacing and keeps the story moving at a good pace. Narrator is great.

1 person found this helpful