Everest 1924-2004

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  Mallory and Irvine 1924 Theories


George Mallory -- Theory One

There are a lot of theories about what happened to George Mallory and Sandy Irvine during their fatal attempt at summiting Everest in 1924. Everyone has a theory and they're all different.

One theory, among many, is based on a couple of assumptions. First the big one - they made it. The theory, based on Noel Odell's sighting of the two men heading strongly for the top (and climbing the forbidding Second Step), is they climbed on after disappearing from view and reached the summit. Possibly, they had started late, perhaps as a result of Irvine's necessary work on their balky oxygen systems and ran into trouble during a late descent (finding as many mountaineers do that the climb down from Everest's summit is the real killer).

Secondly this theory assumes that George Mallory did not fall from the North East Ridge, as many think he did. His body was found far below the top ridge and although he suffered from a broken right leg, his body was in-fact not that badly damaged. It was certainly not mangled, as one would expect from such a long fall. When one considers the ridges and outcroppings that a body would be catapulted over on a fall from the ridge to the known resting place it is hard to imagine a body in as good shape as Mallory was discovered in.

Therefore the theory goes that after summiting Mallory came down a different route, possibly via the Great Couloir (which Messner used to avoid the 2nd step) so as to avoid climbing back down the Second Step, and was traversing the mountain back toward the route of their original ascent when he fell a shorter, but still fatal distance and was killed. Irvine continued on when he died either from exposure or a fall.

 

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