Did extreme weather help in Mallory & Irvine’s desappearance?

650 George Mallory & Andrew Irvine have been in the news quite a bit lately, from Conrad Anker's new film The Wildest Dream to David Breashears' remaking of some early Everest images for the Rivers of Ice exhibition

And, they popped up again this weekend when Professor G.W.K Moore of the Physics Department at the University of Toronto released his findings from studying a forgotten weather record from the 1924 expedition. 

He concluded that the storm reported by Noel Odell during Mallory & Irvine's summit attempt created a barometric pressure drop of 18 millibars at basecamp, indicating a storm of unique ferocity. (Moore compares this to a similar, well-documented storm on Everest: The 1996 storm of Into Thin Air fame recorded a pressure drop of only 8 millibars.)

Could this storm have "caused" the disappearance and death of Mallory & Irvine? Well, it certainly wouldn't have helped their cause at all. Moore's findings, while interested, sadly don't prove anything, but add more interesting material to the growing database of Mallory & Irvine information. 

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Jake Norton is an Everest climber, guide, photographer, writer, and motivational speaker from Colorado.

  1. Mount Everest
    Mount EverestAugust 2,10

    Like you say Jake, Professor G.W.K Moore article does not really prove anything, but its always interesting to read theories from others on this subject.

    Mount Everest The British Story

  2. Clyde
    ClydeAugust 2,10

    Interesting, that would have effectively raised the height of Everest beyond 30,000 feet. I’ve seen calculations that if even a small low pressure system moved in during an oxygenless winter ascent, that would be enough to incapacitate anyone.

  3. Jake Norton
    Jake NortonAugust 2,10

    Yeah, Clyde, pretty wild. Definitely would put the summit possibilities in the “slim to none” category if the data is correct. My only big question is about where the storm and reading occurred. Sounds like it was taken at BC, and given how localized the storm systems can be on Everest it would be hard to extrapolate that the pressure change at BC would have been the same some 11,000 feet higher. Could have been far worse, or better.

    But, it’s all interesting nonetheless.

  4. Jake Norton
    Jake NortonAugust 2,10

    Hi Colin,

    Thanks for your note. Yes, nothing proved, but more fodder for the theory pile for sure!

  5. Pete Poston
    Pete PostonAugust 4,10

    Hi Jake,
    Doesn’t this make it even more likely that Mallory had frostbite? I know none was reported by you and others, but wouldn’t the color changes to his hands after death have obscured signs of frostbite?

  6. Jake Norton
    Jake NortonAugust 4,10

    Hi Pete,
    Yeah, I think it would make it more likely that Mallory got at least some frostbite. Hard to imagine how he could not have gotten any, even in good weather. But, who knows? The King County Coroner, as I recall, said it would be hard to tell post-mortem if any frostbite had occurred, just like you note. Lots of mysteries!

    Hope all’s well, Pete,


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