My name is Mark Guido, I am a 29-year-old from the Greater Chicago Area. I have an ambitious goal of joining the Seven Summits Club, a select group of roughly 400 people worldwide who have climbed the highest mountain peaks on every continent. To date, I have successfully climbed three summits in Africa, South America, and Europe and have helped raise more than $10,000 for youth development around the world.
How does someone from one of the flattest states in the U.S. become a high-altitude Mountaineer? Self-belief and commitment to a dream. I am just a regular guy allowing my adventurous spirit to play out. Three years ago, I traveled to Africa and decided to climb the highest mountain on the continent. This was my first high-altitude mountaineering experience and I fell in love with the challenge. From then on, I have fully committed to pushing my physical and mental limits in some of the most dangerous environments.
What Motivates Me?
For some, the thrill of the climb would be motivation enough, but when I stand on top of a mountain, it’s not about me. My climbs invest in children’s futures and that’s what keeps me motivated. On my various climbs, I have realized that the children of the areas I have visited did not have the resources for a decent education. I am the son of a mother who works in the education world, so I was instantly aware that if something could be done for these kids, it was my responsibility. I was quick to partner with different groups that support the local children and, in doing so, my project has helped the lives of many. Before each climb, I have local children sign a special flag unique to each location that I carry with me to the summit. This is what keeps me motivated. I am no longer climbing for myself, I am climbing with and for all these children to show them that anything is possible!
My next adventure will take me back to Everest in April 2023 for a second attempt. As many of you already know, I had a preventative procedure done to close a hole in my heart called a Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO). It was done so I could continue my passion for high-altitude mountaineering. After getting cleared by my cardiologist I was able to climb Everest this season. My heart was a non-issue, and I tolerated the high altitude incredibly well, but unfortunately, I experienced a different kind of misfortune. I decided to turn back on my Everest summit attempt due to a suspected intestinal parasite that I could never fully recover from earlier in the expedition. I struggled with reoccurring gastrointestinal problems, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalance and I decided to turn back just under 27,700 ft. (8500 m).
See you at the top!
Peaks for Purpose