What Really Happened To Mallory and Irvine? (Part 3)

The mystery of what actually happened to George Mallory and Sandy Irvine on that fateful day, high on Everest, back in 1924, has been one of mountaineering’s enduring mysteries. It has provided fodder for discussion and debate around the campfire for years, with the only thing we know for sure being that they didn’t make it back down.

Over the past few weeks, mountaineer and photographer Jake Norton has been sharing his thoughts on what he believes really happened to the two men, sharing his unique perspective on the Mallory and Irvine mystery. Jake was part of the team that found Mallory’s remains on Everest back in 1999, and he later came across the duo’s lost Camp VI high on the mountain as well. He has studied Mallory and Irving and even followed their route to the summit, so his speculation as to what happened to them has been particularly fascinating to me.

Today, Jake has posted the third part of his series, found here, in which he discusses Mallory and Irvine’s descent from the summit. Obviously we all know that they died trying to make the first ascent of the mountain, but how and why that happened remains a mystery. Jake logically lays out his thoughts on what he believe happened to them after they successfully reached the summit late in the day. As with the other two parts of the series, it is a very interesting and compelling read.

If you haven’t read the first two parts of the series, I’d encourage you to do so before going on to Part 3. Part 1 can be found here and gives excellent background info on the entire affair. Part 2 is here, and it is a detailed account of what Jake thinks the ascent was like. All three parts make for a great read.

Kraig Becker

1 thought on “What Really Happened To Mallory and Irvine? (Part 3)”

  1. I think that Jake Norton may very well be correct in his opinion that Mallory and Irvine made the summit but that they summited too late in the day for a safe descent. That they ran out of O2 on the way down and that because of that, the cold and the darkness they choose a less hospitable descent rout than they intended and that they fell while descending.

    Some have said that Mallory couldn't have pulled the 5.8 moves on the second step (people far more knowledgeable than me have said that). But who says that he had to free climb it? He would have used every tool at his disposal including a shoulder stand to get up the thing…no holds barred.

    Some say that their technology wasn't adequate…but technology isn't everything. Some insanely long, hard and exposed climbs were done in the dolomites ages ago with a pair of hemp ropes and a half dozen pitons and some rope runners.

    If it is given that their clothing & equipment was good enough(and it has been so proven)then their desire was the critical factor..and I don't think their desire is in question at all. But until the camera is found or an artifact found near the summit the question remains. However, I want to believe that they made it.

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