First on Everest?

Solving the Mystery of Mallory and Irvine
By Jochen Hemmleb, Larry A. Johnson & Eric R. Simonson
Everest's crest
Did Mallory and Irvine reach the top?

On June 8, 1924, Noel Odell spotted his expedition comrades George Leigh Mallory and Andrew Comyn Irvine high on Everest, heading toward fame as the first humans to summit the world's highest mountain. Then Mallory, the most accomplished British mountaineer of his time, and Irvine, the strong, young novice, simply walked into the mist and into history, never to be seen again.

For more than three quarters of a century the controversy has raged: Did Mallory and Irvine reach Everest's peak some thirty years before Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay?

On May 1, 1999, the Mallory & Irvine Research Expedition discovered George Mallory's astonishingly well preserved body high on the wind-swept North Face. But that is not all that they found. In Mallory's pockets, and elsewhere on the mountain, they discovered artifacts and clues that allowed them to start piecing together the incredible story.

Ghosts of Everest: The Search for Mallory and Irvine presents the dramatic tale of both the 1924 and 1999 expeditions. Authors Hemmleb, Johnson, and Simonson, members of the '99 expedition, posit that it is indeed possible for Mallory and Irvine to have made it to the top -- and so the controversies have blossomed anew. Continue onward for their theory unraveling the mystery of what happened on that fateful day in 1924.

--GORP Editors

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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