Vertical Limit: K2, The Savage Mountain - THE MYSTERY CONTINUES

The National Archives of The Netherlands has placed this photo online. It depicts members of Britain’s 1924 Everest Expedition, including George Mallory (who is highlighted in the image). The description of this photo (translated from Dutch-to-English) is: “George Mallory (center, with circle around the head) and other members of the English expedition in 1924 who wanted to be the first to reach the top of Mount Everest. Mallory lost his life in the expedition.”


Following his instincts while exploring outside the established search area, Conrad Anker saw something. He recalled it later as "a patch of white." Was it a body?

As he and Dave Hahn, his climbing companion, approached the object, Conrad could see more clearly. It wasn’t the first body the Expedition had encountered. In all, there were 17. But this one was different. The clothes seemed like they were from a different time.

Whoever it was had fallen. With his climbing rope still around him, the man’s mummified hands were outstretched, grasping the mountain. His muscular arms and torso were not decomposed. His face had become one with the rocks to which it had frozen.

Who was this man? Most of the team believed they had found Sandy Irvine.

It seemed clear that the corpse was of someone who had initially survived the fall. One leg, broken in two places above the ankle, was resting on top of the other, uninjured leg. Only a conscious man, seeking some comfort from pain, would have favored the injured leg.

Disturbing the body as little as possible, and being careful not to turn him over, members of the Expedition team examined the inside label of his clothes. Conrad was stunned as he read “G. Mallory.” He had found the long-vanished, legendary hero.

Had Mallory been to the top of the mountain? His tinted goggles were inside his pocket. Did that mean he was descending from the summit, in darkness? No one can be sure.

Perfectly preserved, in his breast pocket, were letters from his brother and sister. He had planned to leave something from his wife Ruth at the top.

The team also recovered other artifacts, including Mallory’s scarf. With permission from Mallory’s family, a piece of forearm tissue was cut. It will be used in DNA analysis.

After the expedition team read the Anglican committal service and Psalm 103, they placed rocks over his body. To protect it from treasure hunters, they have not disclosed its precise location.

Neither Sandy Irvine nor the Kodak camera were found. Another expedition is planned to look for them.

What is it like to summit the world’s highest mountains? What kind of training and physical abilities are needed? How does today’s gear differ from the gear of 1924?

Ed Viesturs, who plays himself in Vertical Limit, can shed some light on those questions. Let’s listen to what he has to say.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Dec 01, 2000

Updated Last Revision: Jul 17, 2019

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"THE MYSTERY CONTINUES" AwesomeStories.com. Dec 01, 2000. Feb 20, 2020.
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