Outside Online has more information about the Altitude Everest Team which summitted yesterday in their attempt to recreate the 1924 George Mallory/Sandy Irvine climb. As was mentioned in our comments on yesterday’s article, the team completed the climb using modern gear as opposed to the vintage gear they had intended to top out in. Apparently the cold temperatures at high altitude convinced the team that discretion was the better part of valor, so Conrad Anker and Leo Holding, donned the warmer, high tech gear for their free climb of the Second Step and their final leg to the summit.
Even more curious, is that Miss Elizabeth Hawley, the respected historian of Himalayan Climbing, has stated that the successful free climb on the Second Step is the first since the 1960’s when a Chinese team completed the impressive task. However, this runs counter to ExWeb’s recent article that says it’s been climbed as recently as 2001. Anyone know why there would be a discrepancy here? I do know one thing, if Miss Hawley doesn’t give it the thumbs up, it ain’t official! 😉
The fact that Anker and Holding had to switch into warmer gear does throw a shadow of doubt over the question of whether or not Mallory and Irvine topped out on Everest back in 1924. There has been a lot of speculation as to if they made it up or not. The fact that these experienced climbers elected to revert back to modern gear probably says a lot, and this isn’t the first time someone had tried to go up in vintage gear, only to abandon that attempt. As I said yesterday, we will probably never know for sure if Mallory and Irvine reached the summit, but the argument is also a little moot. I’ve always seen getting to the summit as only being half-way through the climb, and a successful descent is still part of the equation.