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