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1999: Body of Deceased Climber Discovered on Mount Everest after 75 Years

1999: Body of Deceased Climber Discovered on Mount Everest after 75 Years
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/ 1921 Mount Everest reconnaissance expedition team members, George Mallory standing on the far right.

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 1 May 1999
  • There is a possibility that George Mallory conquered the summit of Mount Everest before he died. This would significantly change history, because today, the first successful ascent of Mount Everest is considered to have been the one by Edmund Hillary in 1953, which was about 29 years later!

On this day in 1999 the frozen body of famous alpinist George Mallory was discovered on Mount Everest. 

At the time of discovery, his body had been dead for almost 75 years, since back in 1924, when he was killed while trying to climb this world’s highest mountain. During this long period, Mallory was considered missing, along with his partner Andrew Irvine. Specifically, the two of them tried to conquer Mount Everest in 1924.

The question whether Mallory and Irvine reached the summit before they died remains one of the greatest mysteries in the history of mountaineering to this day. If true, this would significantly change history, the first successful ascent of Mount Everest is considered to have been the one by Edmund Hillary in 1953, which was about 29 years after Mallory and Irvine.

There are indications that Mallory and Irvine actually did reach the summit. For example, Mallory’s daughter claimed that her father always carried with him a picture of his beloved wife Ruth, with the intention to place it on top of Mount Everest when he gets there. When Mallory’s body was found in 1999 it was preserved in the ice, along with his possessions. However, the photograph of his wife was not on him, which suggests the possibility that he got to the top and left the photo there.

Besides, Mallory and Irvine were last seen when they were only a few hundred meters from the top, so it is not unlikely that they managed to conquer it and only died on their return journey. Mallory was 37 years old at the time of his death, and his colleague Irvine only 22. Irvine’s body has not yet been found. The discoverers buried Mallory’s body at the place where they found it, high on Mount Everest.

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