Early in the morning of June 8, 1924 – 90 years ago today…
Instagram Photo Caption: Early in the morning of June 8, 1924 – 90 years ago today – George #Mallory and Andrew #Irvine emerged from their tiny canvas, A-frame pup tent at nearly 27,000 feet on the North Ridge of #Everest.
Shivering through their woolen knickers against the cold and breathing hard – assisted barely by the rudimentary oxygen system Irvine had come to be an expert with – they began coming upward toward the Northeast Ridge and the summit beyond.
Hours later, they were seen by their teammate, Noel #Odell, climbing a great rock steep beneath the final summit pyramid. Then, as Odell wrote, “the whole fascinating vision vanished, enveloped in cloud once more.” Mallory and Irvine were never seen alive again.
Were they able to climb the formidable Second Step, just behind these cornices in this photo from 2003? Did they reach the summit that day, becoming the first people to stand on top of the world? Personally, I believe they could have, and like to imagine they did. I think Mallory was obsessed – dangerously, stupidly obsessed – with reaching the summit that year, and that really his only way back home was via the summit of Everest. As he wrote to Geoffrey Keynes before the expedition: “This is going to be more like war than mountaineering…I don’t expect to come back.” We don’t know, and we may never know. But, one thing I do know: summit or not, Mallory and Irvine, #Norton and #Somervell, Odell, Hazard, Bruce, Semchumbi, Norbu Yishe, and all the climbers on these early pioneering attempts on Everest were remarkable climbers, adventurers, explorers. Their early efforts, clad in wool and tweed, on the high mountains paved the way for generations of climbers to come, and continue to inspire today.
Let’s remember less the question “Did they summit?” and more the fact that they tried. #Everest1924 #everesthistory #climbing #history #MountEverest #becauseitsthere