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George H.L. Mallory

Posted by dbmochran on March 22, 2010

George Mallory's body lay undiscovered for 75 years

George H.L. Mallory
(June 18, 1886 – June 9, 1924)

On June 9, 1924 George Mallory and climbing partner Andrew Irvine were last sited on Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world, only a few hundred meters from the summit. The fate of George Mallory, one of the most revered, if not the most revered mountain climber ever, was unknown for 75 years until his body was finally discovered in 1999.

George Mallory carried a photograph of his wife which he was going to leave at the summit. When his body was discovered, the photograph was missing and it could have been left at the summit.

He was also carrying snow goggles in his pocket which would lead to the theory that he had made a push for the summit and was descending after sunset when the goggles would no longer be required.

Various oxygen cylinders were located and based on the extent of usage it again can be theorized that he reached the summit and was descending.

Since the discovery in 1999, there has been considerable effort made to locate the camera carried by George Mallory or his climbing partner Andy Irvine but to no avail.

Whether it will ultimately be proven that he reached the top or not, he certainly had climbed to an altitude of at least 28,000 feet in 1924 with clothing and equipment far inferior to what is available today – a remarkable feat.

He will be remembered as well when a reporter asked him why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest and his response was “because it is there”. He always loved to climb and had the ambition drive and experience to reach the summit and we can only await the discovery of his camera on Mt. Everest for the final answer.


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George Mallory conquered Everest decades before Sir Edmund Hillary

Posted by dbmochran on February 20, 2009

George Mallory left and Andrew Irvine at their camp as they prepare to climb Everest in June 1924"

A mountaineering expert will today claim that Sir Edmund Hillary was not the first man to scale Everest – and that it was in fact conquered three decades before by the British climber George Mallory.

Graham Hoyland has spent years researching a story he was told as a boy: Mallory, who took part in the first three British expeditions and who is widely accepted as having just failed to reach the summit, did in fact succeed and was on his way down when he died.

Mallory and his climbing partner, Andrew Irvine, both went missing somewhere high on the north-east ridge during the final stage of their attempt to make the first ascent of the world’s highest mountain in June 1924.

The pair’s last known sighting was only 800ft from the summit and Mallory’s body lay undiscovered for 75 years. It has never been proved whether they were on their way up, or had completed the climb and were on their way down.

As a 12-year-old, Mr Hoyland was told about the climber’s disappearance by his cousin, Howard Somervell, a retired missionary doctor and mountaineer, who had been one of the last men to see Mallory alive.

After eight expeditions to Everest and decades of research, Mr Hoyland believes he knows what happened and is ready to expose the accepted theory – that Sir Edmund Hillary was the first to conquer Everest, in 1953 – as untrue. He will present his findings to the Royal Geographical Society in a lecture today.

Mr Hoyland, who has climbed Everest, said most experts and historians presume that Mallory died after attempting to climb a 28,280ft vertical cliff on the mountain’s north ridge, known as the Second Step. They believe it was there that the mountaineer Noel Odell, widely accepted as the last person to see Mallory and Irvine alive, saw them climbing towards the summit.

But he said no one else had previously tried that route, and so it was unlikely Mallory had.

“Mallory had Irvine with him, who isn’t really a climber, and he looks up and sees this enormous prow of a Second Step. I don’t think he would have contemplated it when he got up close.”

Mr Hoyland’s theory is that they took a lower route to the top called the Third Step and that is where Odell saw them, not on the Second Step as he maintained in his account. Mr Hoyland said they could not have climbed the steep cliff as quickly as Odell described, adding: “No one can surmount the Second Step in five minutes.”

If Mallory and Irvine were on the Third Step, a much smaller challenge closer to the summit, then most historians agree that they would have made it to the summit.

“If they were there, there is no question in my mind that one or both of them would have reached the summit,” Mr Hoyland said. By Nick Britten


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