Mark Sheen (89-93)

‘There are many lessons to be learned. Staying positive is one of the hardest things. You need both motivation and intuition to really succeed.’

Mark Sheen entered Wesley College at age thirteen, joining Dickson House. At school he was a House Prefect and recipient of the Torch Emblem and Rowing Emblem. He was Cross-Country Captain, received Colours for cross-country, and was awarded the Medical Officer’s Prize for Outstanding Service.

In the early hours of 5 June 2007, Mark became the first born-and-bred Western Australian to successfully scale Mount Everest, battling deep snow, deadly crevasses and oxygen-starved air. The OWCA followed the expedition closely and ran an Everest Fund to assist Mark.

Mark climbed quickly, taking only five hours to climb what would take most nine hours. He climbed from the northern side, which is longer and more treacherous. His arrival at the summit was timed with near perfect conditions of -12°C and no wind.

In 2008, Mark returned to the Himalayas in a bid to conquer K2, the world’s second highest and most dangerous mountain. At 8,611m, K2 is on the Pakistan-China border and is very steep with icy slopes. Climbing in a group of nine, Sheen aimed to leave base camp at the end of May 2008 and reach the top in five or six weeks. A minor delay caused by lack of tent space in the first group attempting the same climb saved Mark from dying in a mountain catastrophe.

Near the summit a huge chunk of ice sheared off the mountain and fell towards the climbers further up the mountain. It took the ropes away, and all the climbers were stranded. Eleven died. Mark tried to assist and abandoned his expedition.

He has donated a significant number of objects from his Mount Everest climb to the Wesley College Archives.