Some facts - George Mallory's last ascent on Mt. Everest

Irvine (left) and Mallory Vertebrate Publishing

mountaineer Mallory's death, June 09, 1924 Everest news
 For some men of courage and strength, facing  challenges involving  lots of risk is matter of obsession and the immense pleasure of success in such endeavors  keeps their spirits high enough to go for the next one. To those people who use their successful adventures as a spring board, sky is the limit. Two British mountaineers George Mallory and Andrew Irvine  took upon themselves the most difficult undertaking - scaling Mt. Everest, highest peak in the world, a daunting task, considering the quality of mountaineering gears available in the early 1900s. 
mt. Everest.
 On June 6, 1924 George Mallory (June 18, 1886 - June 9, 1924) and  his climbing partner Andrew Irvine (8 April 1902 – 8 June 1924), Oxford scholar and an avid rower, were  part of the team to scale Mt. Everest. The expedition was  led by Gen. Bruce and as for Mallory, perhaps, it was  his last  attempt. Mallory, an experienced and tenacious mountain climber  was already 37 years old  and  had a family to look after. Victory had already eluded him on the early expeditions. The team started out on June 6  from the cold wind-whipped Base camp - 21300 feet above msl.  It was a final push and their mission was to set the world record  by being the first ones to reach the roof of the world. Behind this final assault, it was months of  careful planning, preparations, hard work and  unrelenting determination to achieve something, no people had done before. Success was within their grasp provided the weather was favorable.
George Mallory's  June 1924 expedition to Mt. Everest. This Day in Quotes

For the British nation, this expedition was the most  important one to prove their supremacy in adventurism and new frontier exploration. To their dismay, they had already lost the race to the North and South poles.  For Mallory and Irvine, every thing went off well as planned until they reached step rock - an area with obstacles on the 8th  of June. Both Mallory and Irvine were the  sighted on Mount Everest, only a few hundred meters  away from the summit. A member of the team Noel Oddell around early afternoon saw two tiny black spots silhouetted on the snow-clad slope near the rock step. The second black spot was trying to join the first and was slowly moving.  All of a sudden, patches of cloud moved in and the vision vanished like the willow-the-wisp. The cloud cover had not cleared and nothing was visible. Mallory and Irvine never returned to the base camp. On June 9 it was confirmed that both of them  were found missing somewhere near the North Ridge. On June 21, 1924, The Times of London published a telegraph from another team member announcing their death.  It said only, “Mallory and Irvine killed on last attempt". For 75 years his fate was not known until May 1, 1999 when Mallory's body was discovered by an expedition. Irvine's body has not been found.

Some facts: 

01. Johnson, American Mountain climber and Hemmleb, 26 year old German geologist and expert in Himalayan geology and Mt. Everest became partners for the purpose of finding the bodies of Mallory and Irvine. Their  commercial expedition was privately funded  and eventually the  team members found the body of Mallory on 1 May 1999.

02.  George Mallory carried a photograph of his wife and wanted to  leave at the summit. When his body was discovered, the photograph was missing. Could it have been left at the summit by George?
03. The snow goggles in his pocket suggests that he was descending after sundown  having reached the summit. It is risky to climb the snow- covered  mountain without snow-goggles. It is likely that he had made a push for the summit and was descending after sunset when the goggles would no longer be required. 

04.  Several spent oxygen cylinders point out that it was likely that he reached the summit and the mishap could have happened while descending.

05.  About 2,000ft below the summit of Mount Everest Mallory's
body was discovered face-down in the snow with a shock of  hair sticking out of his leather-flapped helmet. 

06.  Apparently his right-leg was broken badly; however, his face  with eyes closed and chin covered with gentle whiskers was well preserved. so, he  had taken a fall. 

07.  A broken rope was tied around him, and there was a large hole in his cheekbone

 08.  Since the discovery in 1999, many expeditions have tried to locate the  camera  carried by Mallory  and  his  climbing partner Andy Irvine.  There is no trace of either of the two Vest Pocket Kodak (VPK) cameras Mallory carried with him. So far the attempts have  been unsuccessful. His cameras  are the only clue that will unravel all the mystery about his death and his assault on Mt. Everest.

09.  Irvine’s ice axe was found above, but his body has never been located. It suggests that he too had a bad fall and he  plummeted all the way down the North Face.  

The body of George Mallory died on June 09, 1924 near the summit of Mt. Everest. Mt. Everest

George MalloryJune 18, 1886 – June 9, 1924.  Quotes.
Set aside the argument whether he had  reached the summit or not, there is no no doubt he certainly had climbed to an altitude of at least 28,000 feet in 1924, using then prevailing  mountain gear - woolen sweaters,  clothing made from natural fibers, hobnailed leather boots and equipment, etc.  They were primitive  and  far inferior in quality to what is available today. It was a remarkable feat considering their time and the men must have sturdy, tough body to survive such harsh environment  on the higher  Himalayan mountains. When one of his expeditions failed as a result of a snow avalanche that swept away seven Sherpas on the early expedition,  some people pointed the accusing finger at Mallory.  Applying the  Karma concept to  the natural calamity, it was simply the edit of God, that is the possible logical reasoning one can make. At such an altitude on rugged mountains with steep slope no body could predict snow avalanches.  He is famous for his crisp  reply to a question in the wake of his failed expedition why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest. He replied with all his firmness and innocence, "Because, it is there.". It is an irony that "it is there" both Mallory and Irvin made their ascent to eternity. It reminds me of Shakespeare's quote: 
"He, who is to be hanged, shall never be drowned"(Tempest).

There is a simple memorial at Everest Base Camp North and it is a reminder to all mountain climbers.  Many climbers died trying to reach  Everest from the north ridge.  It was George Mallory and his team  who made the most significant contribution to future climbs.  He was a pioneer in setting up a standard route up the the East Rongbuk Glacier, North Col and Northeast Ridge most people now use to climb Everest from Tibet. In three expedition  - 1921, 1922 and 1924,  Mallory trail blazed the safest route up East Rongbuk Glacier, North Col and Northeast Ridge - the most difficult and challenging route. It is something like a death trap.

George Mallory, being a maverick adventurist, never wanted to use bottled oxygen at very high altitude unless it was  necessary. As far as he was concerned, the  spirit of adventurism and fun in mountaineering is lost on such expedition when bottled oxygen is used. Further, it is a way of testing one's body tolerance vis-a-vis oxygen intake at high altitude. On one of his early expeditions, he reached the record height (record then!) of 26,980 ft (8,225 m) without oxygen and at higher level he and his partner managed with thin air available. Near the summit, oxygen cylinder is a must and later he began to use oxygen at higher elevation. His partner in June 1924 expedition was Sandy Irvine because he was good with the oxygen apparatus. 

In the absence of camera that Mallory carried, the speculation is still in the blind alley. Many climbers are looking for Irvine's body for the clue. But many people believe his body should be let to rest in the lap of the mountain. 

Mallory was a great  mountain climber whose name is synonymous with the history of Everest regardless of the contentious issue whether he had made the summit before the mishap, etc. The jigsaw puzzle is not yet solved but, one fact is borne out of the disappearance of Mallory and Irvine, that is descending from the roof of the world  - eerie Mt. Everest is as risky as making an assault on the summit. The future successful summiters have to be extra careful while descending the unfriendly mountainous slopes.
Toiling under conditions of extreme adversity and unfriendly, harsh  weather,  Mallory and his team  set a high standard of  paradigm for  future Everest explorationists that would not be matched for decades,