|Mallory & his daughter Claire. Trekking and Photography in the Himalaya|
|Mt. Everest. phrases tattoos for girls|
Whether Mallory and Irvine had reached the summit or not before their unexpected death is a moot question and is debatable. The fact is the fate of both climbers had not been known for 75 long years, until Mallory's body was discovered on 1 May 1999 by an expedition that had set out, looking for the climbers' remains.
Mallory, son of Herbert Leigh Mallory, a clergyman and his wife Annie Beridge (née Jebb) was born in Mobberley, Cheshire. The couple had two sons and two daughters. Trafford Leigh-Mallory, younger brother of George, was the World War II Royal Air Force commander.
|George Mallory. The Casual Observer|
After a brief stint in Army, Mallory returned to Charterhouse, resigning his job in 1921 in order to join the first Everest expedition. Between expeditions, he earned money by way of writing and lecturing without any major success. In 1923, he became a lecturer at Cambridge and the university gave him temporary leave so that he could pursue his passion - climbing the highest peak in the world - Mt. Everest.
In 1910 and 1911 he was part of a mountaineering team led by Irving. Though in 1911 he had altitude sickness problem while climbing Mont Vélan in the Alps, later in 1911 he climbed Mont Blanc, making the third ascent of the Frontier ridge of Mont Maudit in a party again led by Irving. He made history by ascending Pillar Rock in the English Lake District without any help whatsoever. The route taken by him is known as the Mallory route. It was considered as the hardest route in England in those days.
Mallory was a member of the 1921 British Reconnaissance Expedition - the earliest one organized and financed by the Mount Everest Committee. They team explored safe routes up to the North Col of Mount Everest. It was the first attempt by the expedition to produce the first accurate maps of the mountainous region at the higher elevation , never tried before. Mallory, with support from other members like Guy Bullock and E. O. Wheeler of the Survey of India, carried out in depth exploration of several approaches to the peak. Besides, he and his group along with help from one dozen Sherpas, scaled several lower peaks near Mt.Everest feat no body ever tried before. Perhaps his group were the first westerners to view the western part at the foot of the Lhotse face, as well as trail blazing the course of the Rongbuk Glacier up to the base of the North Face. After going round the mountain from the south side, his party finally discovered the East Rongbuk Glacier—the main arterial to the summit which is now being used by nearly all climbers on the Tibetan side of the mountain. By scaling up to the saddle of the North Ridge (the 23,030 ft (7,020 m) North Col, they discovered a route to the summit via the North-East Ridge over the obstacle of the Second Step.
|Mallory climbing in France in 1909The Times|
Later George Finch and his party reached a height of approximately 27,300 ft (8,321 m) at record speed, using bottled oxygen both for climbing and — a first — for sleeping.
The third party organized during the Monsoon season made a futile attempt on the summit. While Mallory and his group of porters were on the lower slopes of the North Col of Everest in fresh, waist-deep snow, suddenly an avalanche swooped over the group, killing seven Sherpas. Immediately, the expedition was called off and Mallory was accused of his poor judgement of the prevailing weather conditions and particularly one Dr. Longstaff was harsh on Mallory. To the question "Why did you want to climb Mount Everest?', his reply was simple." Because, it is there". Later it became a famous quote.
|George Mallory, Andrew Irvine and fellow-mountaineer Bentley Beetham in 1924. The Telegraph|
Their disappearance in the Himalayas near the summit saddened the mountaineers and the whole Britain mourned their heroic death. Their mortal remains had been on the snow-clad mountain for 75 years until Mallory's body was found on the 1st May 1999. Whether Mallory reached the summit or not is an unsolved riddle surrounded by mysteries.There is no trace of Irvine's body on the mountain!