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
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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