My Everest Story

By: Lauren Donohue


Mark begins step one of his goal to climb the summit of Mount Everest.

August 1992

At 12 years old, Mark starts his first step toward his goal of climbing Mount Everest by arriving at Alton Jone Wilderness Center for an advanced camping trip. He does camping, hiking, and some rock climbing to improve his strength and abillity. He is the youngest in the camp.

Mark starts practicing rock climbing at his first rock climbing gym.

October 1993

Mark is always looking for a challenge so he continues rock climbing at differnent gyms, starting in one in Waterbury, Connecticut. He is to young too join most so must sneak in. He practices and practices daily.

Mark meets Frank, his first experienced rock climbing mentor.

November 1993

Mark finally gets to hike his first mountain. He reaches the top of Mount Crawford with his first mentor, an 77 year-old, experienced rock climber named Frank.

Mark starts his first ice climb in Lake Placid, New York.

January 1994

Mark, along with his instructor, climbs a 200-foot frozen waterfall at Lake Placid, New York. Its 20 degrees and freezing. He enjoys the climb and is better prepared and more confident for his next rock climb.

Mark arrives at Nepal to begin his 19,000-foot peak called Nya Kanga.

March 1994

Mark travels to Nepal to climb two peaks, one 16,000 and one 19,000 feet high. Mark finds the climb easy and can do up to nine miles a day, even at that altitude.

Mark joined the National Outdoor Leadership school.

July 1994

Mark joins NOLS to learn more detailed skills in climbing. He learns about skills many never learn, like leadership and sharing food.

Mark breaks his first mountain climbing record on Mount Huascaran.

August 1994

Mark traveled to Peru where he reached the summit Huascaran, the highest mountain in Peru. Huascaran is 22,205 feet above sea level. He becomes a record-setter young mountain climber.

Mark learns about successes and failures of climbing.

December 1994

Mark travels to Equador and fails to reach the summit of 5 out of 6 mountains in December. He reaches the summit of Cotopaxi (1 out of 6) and becomes the youngest to reach that summit. He learns that no matter how tired you are or how much money you spent, summits are sometimes not reached. But Mark keeps trying.

Mark climbs Mount Aconcagua, the biggest mountain in the Western Hemisphere

February 1995

Aconcagua is 23,000 feet and the biggest mountain climb Mark has ever experienced. Mark looks out to the Andes of Chile and Argentina, huge peaks as far as the eye can see.

Marks takes his first step on Mount Everest but does not reach the summit.

April 1995

Mark's dream of climbing Everest is made real. The plan is to spend two months acclimating at 4 base camps in order to reach the summit. After reaching more than 25,000 feet, he fractures a rib and must return home.

Mark makes his second attempt to climb to the summit of Mount Everest.

April 1996

Mark gets another chance to try to climb Everest. A huge storm cripples his team and they must return home. He fails again, but is still confident and wants to try again.

Mark climbs Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya, the Grand Tetons, and Cho Oyu.

July 1996

Mark continues to practice and climb to prepare for his 3rd attempt at Mount Everest, which he calls Everest '97. The Cho Oyu climb is a good test of his skills at 26, 750 feet.

Mark's dad dies.

July 1997

Mark's dad dies from cancer and Mark realizes that his thirst for Everest has consumed his life over the last 3 years. He returns to school and refocuses his life's goals.

Mark's final plan for Mount Everest.

August 1997

After his dad dies, Mark takes up scuba diving. He prioritizes things in his life. He creates his newest goal of climbing the summit of Mount Everest for the third time then diving to the 'Everest' for deep-sea divers, Andrea Doria, 240 feet below sea-level. The book ends.