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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.

Final 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.

Images of the Everest expedition of 1922 (Everest Base Camp) From the Hidden Histories of Exploration exhibition at the Royal Geographical Society  

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.