George H.L. Mallory
(June 18, 1886 – June 9, 1924)
On June 9, 1924 George Mallory and climbing partner
Andrew Irvine were last sighted 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.
ascent: George Mallory, left, and Andrew Irvine,
right, preparing to leave their camp on the north
col, 1924. Photograph: AP/John Noel Collection.
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
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.