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  Mallory and Irvine 1924 Theories

George Mallory Theory Two

Many of the theories about what happened on George Mallory and Sandy Irvine's attempt at Everest's summit in 1924 are based on Noel Odell's sighting of Mallory & Irvine being accurate. He initially said that he watched the climbers approach and climb the Second Step, though he would later waffle somewhat after seeing the difficulty of climbing the massive Second Step. Many people consider his initial statement accurate and believe that Mallory & Irvine did make it over the second step and beyond.

A different theory assumes that the Noel Odell is incorrect in his observations and that the two men did not climb the Second Step as he thought they had (though later observations from Odell's vantage point would show that it would have been hard for him to be mistaken and that his description actually places the men at the Third Step.)

Daunted by the massive Second Step, which today is only climbed with the aid of a ladder placed there by the Chinese, the men admitted defeat, turned around and retraced their steps. Which brings up the question of how, if they were going back on the same route, Mallory's body could have ended up where it did?

This theory suggests that Mallory and Irvine must have become separated in the darkness, or possibly that Irvine succumbed to some high-altitude illness, and Mallory continued on alone. Somehow, and for some unknown reason Mallory abandoned their return route and stuck our across the face of Everest. It's possible that he was attempting to reach Camp IV and became disoriented and went the wrong way. The theory is that he then followed Everest's yellow band only to slip and fall to his death.

This greatly shortens the distance Mallory would have fallen compared to falling from the North East Ridge and is more consistent with the injuries he suffered. It does appear that Mallory was probably alive for only a very short time, if at all, when his body came to a stop.
His arms were outstretched above his head as if in a last attempt to stop his fall. With the extent of his injuries it seems Mallory must have died very quickly. Thom Pollard was the only man to see Mallory's face after the body was discovered. He reports that Mallory's eyes were closed and his face was calm. He does not believe that Mallory suffered an agonizing death based on the fact that above his left eye, in his forehead, was a fracture the size of a golf ball. Two shards of bone stuck out from the hole.

Theory George Mallory Two A: It should also be noted, that George Mallory and Sandy Irvine could have both summited and then descended the normal route (and not turned around at the second step) with similar results.

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