Thursday, June 8, 2017

Mallory and Irvine | 8th June 1924


The view of Everest from the Kharta glacier on the 1921 expedition
On 8th June 1924, two men left  Camp VI (26,700 feet)  to make an attempt on the summit of Everest. 

Camp VI  was the highest camp of the British 1924 Everest expedition.

On the same morning, another British climber, Noel Odell, was making his way up from Camp IV to Camp VI. Odell was a geologist and he was collecting fossils from the slopes of Mount Everest. Odell recalls that it was not the perfect morning to climb Everest. " Rolling banks of mist" were sweeping  across the mountain and covering the north face. Neither the face nor the summit ridge could be seen by Odell. There was also a sharp wind which was making climbing very difficult.

Suddenly at 12.50 pm the mist cleared and Odell spotted high above on the ridge, a black dot climbing a rock step, which Odell at that point identified as the Second Step. Soon after Odell saw another black dot following the first black dot. But before Odell could be sure that the second black dot had joined the first,  the mist rolled in and blanketed the mountain and this fantastic vision was lost forever.

The two dots that Odell saw were George Mallory and Andrew Irvine "going strongly for the summit of Everest". 

Mallory and Irvine were never seen again.

But even today, ninety three years after the disappearance of Mallory and Irvine, the legend of Mallory is still alive. Books are being written about Mallory, expeditions are being planned to find Andrew Irvine and his camera because Everest experts believe that the camera will unlock the secret of Mallory's last climb.

In this post we take a look at some photographs and other memorabilia from the Everest expeditions of 1921, 1922 and 1924.


The 1921 expedition team - Mallory sitting first left


Mallory and Irvine boarding S. S. California on their way to India in 1924 



Irvine working on oxygen cylinders  on the1924 expedition



Members of the 1924 expedition - Standing from left Irvine, Mallory, Norton, Odell, Macdonald. In front: Shebbeare, Bruce, Somervell, Beetham. Members not in the photo : Noel, Hingston, Hazard.
Norton and Somervell with their sherpas before the summit attempt

Route map of Norton and Somervell's attempt
Norton set an altitude record  in 1924 without oxygen reaching 8570 metres which remained unchallenged until Messner and Habeler climbed Everest in 1978 without oxygen



Last photo of Mallory and Irvine leaving for Camp VI 1924


The list of provisions for the summit climb found on Mallory's body  - he planned to be on 2 cylinders of oxygen. Please note the rations on the left!


The 8 pm in the note to Noel should be 8 am


Mallory had no compass on his last climb



Map showing position of Odell and the last sighting of Mallory and Irvine





                                  "..... some day you will hear a different story..." George Mallory

All photographs reproduced above are copyright of Royal Geographical Society, John Noel Photographic Collection and their respective owners. 

7 comments:

  1. I have always felt that they either made it to the summit, or died in the attempt. I don't believe Mallory would have given up at that point, even in the knowledge that going on meant certain death.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Mick he said he could not see himself coming down undefeated.

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    2. Unless they happen to find that camera, we'll never know for sure, I suppose. But I imagine the excitement - and controversy - if it is found and it shows then on the summit!

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    3. It would turn Everest history around 🙂🙂

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  2. संसार की सबसे ऊँची चोटी पर पहुँचने का सपना बहुत कम लोगों का पूरा होता है।

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  4. Very informative, keep posting such good articles, it really helps to know about things.

    ReplyDelete

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