“Why do you want to climb Mount Everest?” asked the reporter. Mallory replied “Because it’s there!”
I first came to know of George Mallory, after I had read Jeffery Archer’s book – Paths of Glory in 2009. Since then I have read various articles and sought more information, which could provide me with a more affirmative answer on whether or not he was the first man to conquer Mount Everest back in 1924. Till today, the debate rages on as to whether, he did make it to the top or not. His body was discovered by a climbing expedition in 1999, though at a height much lower than the summit. Though his climbing partner, Andrew Irvine’s body has never been found. More particularly, a piece of evidence that may confirm their ascent to the summit of Mount Everest was a video camera they carried with them. The search is on even now to find it and the Kodak company has promised to develop the film if it is recovered.
With regard to Sir Edmund Hillary, who is credited with being the first person to successfully climb to the summit of world’s tallest mountain, 29 years later in 1953, I offer my deepest admiration. Truly, what he achieved is nothing short of amazing and he was indeed a great man. May he always be remembered in that light.
However, personally a deep gut feeling leads me to believe that though the evaluation of a successful mountain climb is going up and coming back down in one piece, more or less, Mallory and his climbing partner Irvine did make it to the top. Unfortunately till today no one knows for sure because they never came back alive to tell the tale. Their climbing team in 1924, who through field goggles could see them near the summit, waited for them to return, which they never did. But what I feel is that though Mallory and Irvine realized that they may have had to risk death to conquer the mountain and that they would enter the point of no return if they did so, they still went ahead and made that final ascent because that victory meant far more to them than any measure of Earthly fame, fortune and honor every could.
What they achieved instead was immortal fame! An honor that would last for all eternity! Next Take please!