Lost on Everest: The Mystery of Mallory & Irvine

Lost on Everest: The Mystery of Mallory & Irvine


Sometime during the Spring of 1924, British climber George Leigh Mallory wrote a letter to his friend Geoffrey Keynes saying: “This is going to be more like war than mountaineering. I don’t expect to come back.” He was speaking of his upcoming assault on Mount Everest, and was very accurate in his surmising.

Late in the day on June 8, 1924, Mallory and his climbing companion, 22 year old Andrew Comyn Irvine, were last seen high on Everest’s Northeast Ridge by teammate Noel Odell. They soon disappeared into the clouds of a pre-monsoon squall, never to be seen alive again.

Questions inevitably arose:

  • Did they summit?
  • Did they climb the formidable Northeast Ridge some 29 years before Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzin Norgay Sherpa climbed the Southeast Ridge in 1953?
  • What happened to them in their final days and hours? These and other questions lingered unanswered for 75 years.

In 1999, Jake Norton and a team of American climbers and one German historian embarked on an expedition to solve the mystery.

On May 1, 1999, the team discovered George Mallory’s remains at 27,000 feet on Everest’s North Face.

Perfectly preserved artifacts in Mallory’s pockets and on his person yielded previously-unknown facts about the duo’s final days and hours on Everest, and prompted many new theories about their ultimate fate.

But the mystery remained unsolved. Jake Norton and his teammates returned to Everest in 2001 & 2004, unearthing many more clues about Mallory & Irvine and all the pioneering attempts to climb Mount Everest’s Northeast Ridge, from 1921 to 1975.

Join Jake Norton, a photographer and climbing team member of the 1999, 2001, and 2004 expeditions, as he recounts the findings of the expeditions and shares the conclusions his team has drawn from the highest archaeology ever conducted.