The Story of George Mallory: How Did the Men Die?( Part 2)

The story of George Mallory and Andrew Irvine


The primary purpose of the Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition of 1999 was to find any evidence that may support the assertion that the two men were the first to reach the peak of Mount Everest nearly three decades before the first documented successful ascent in 1953.

However, this speculation that Mallory and Irvine might have reached the summit before their tragic deaths will remain unproven. The one item the team prayed they found was the camera the two men were carrying. This camera is yet to be found, it would have possibly provided some answers to some questions. If it had pictures of the peak, they would conclude the men truly made it to the top before they met their ends.

Tow men at the peak of Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth.

How Did the Men Die?

Following the discovery of Mallory’s body, some theories were put forward to explain what must have led to the end of the climbers.

One theory was that one of the men slipped and dragged the other with him. This assumption was made from the wounds found on Mallory’s waist. It is believed the two men were tied to each other through a rope secured to their waists. So, when one of them fell, he pulled the other with him.

In the picture below, you can see a rope close to Mallory’s waist.

He thought it was a shiny rock

Mallory’s body was found face-down, with his arms outstretched as if he were using his arms to break a sliding fall.

The bones of his right leg were broken, and he also had a deep puncture wound on his forehead; it is believed he died from this head injury. According to the researchers, this wound was caused when the axe Mallory was using to stop his fall struck a rock and bounced off to strike him on the forehead.

Mallory’s Legs

The researchers also believed it was Mallory who slipped first because he was found about 300 meters below an ice axe that belonged to Irvine, this axe which was initially found in a location 100 meters horizontally from Mallory’s body was found in 1933. So it’s either Irvine fell with Mallory or that he died from other causes such as hypothermia or even starvation.

This diagram illustrates Mallory’s body and the location of Irvine’s axe.

Mallory’s body was well-preserved by the cold temperatures of the mountain.

Other items found on his body include a pocket knife, altimeter, and snow goggles. Finding his snow goggles in his pocket made the researchers believe the men were descending from the top after dark when they met their tragic end.

Irvine’s Axe

Irvine’s axe was found by Percy Wyn-Harris who was a member of the Fourth British Everest Expedition.

This axe was found 8,450 meters above sea level. It was the first item recovered from the fatal end of the two men.

Irvine’s ice axe.

The condition of the axe also provided some insight into what might have happened to the men. The axe lay as if it had been left there intentionally, and not dropped.

The Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition made another attempt to solve the mystery surrounding the men’s death in 2001. They went back to the location where Mallory’s body was found but did not find any other items from the site.

However, they were able to locate the campsites from the 1922, and 1924 expeditions. This discovery showed that Mallory was only 300 meters from their camp when he died.

The research team abandoned their search efforts after they encountered some men stranded and in great distress on the mountain. They helped them down to where they could get medical help. Most of the stranded men were sick from high-altitude cerebral edema. A condition that makes climbers hallucinate, and unable to walk.

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