Did a Massive Storm Claim Mallory and Irvine?

A physicist from the University of Toronto in Canada believes he may have discovered an important clue as to what may have led to the death of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine on Everest back in 1924.

While in London recently, G.W. Kent Moore visited the Royal Geographical Society where he poured through weather data from early June of that year, and discovered a significant drop in barometric pressure in the days preceding June 8th, the day that the two climbers went missing. Such a drop usually signifies a dramatic change in weather conditions, resulting in a storm.

According to this story, after analyzing the data and comparing it to modern weather information and examining Indian meteorological maps from that time frame, Moore believes that not only did a storm rage over Everest, but it was a big one. A storm that rivaled the one that buffeted the mountain back in 1996, killing eight people. In fact, the two storms had nearly identical barometric shifts.

Most accounts of the events of that day say that a storm did indeed hit the mountain, but it was described as a fairly short, fairly intense blizzard that came and went rather quickly, leaving the skies clear for Mallory and Irvine to go to the summit. But those reports could be inaccurate, and the two men may have found themselves fighting for their lives due to a freak storm, and without the far superior gear that their 1996 counterparts had.

This is an interesting theory and obviously the weather data supports it to a certain degree. The element of the weather just adds another challenge for Mallory and Irvine, who clearly had the deck stacked against them anyway. Remember, it took nearly another 30 years before someone finally did successfully summit Everest, and yet we still remain fixated and fascinated with what happened in 1924.

Kraig Becker