I went to watch a film about the 1922 attempt to summit Mt Everest on Friday, at the RGS, with Lily. They’ve recently digitalised all their ancient archive ciné reel footage. Almost a century ago, it was an incredible watch, a silent movie in black and white with occasional writing on the screen. A General Bruce led the expedition and 2 climbers got to within 1750 feet of the top, which at the time was an altitude record, the previous record being 24,500 feet.
One of the 2 climbers was Mallory. At the end of the film was written something like ‘ Our intrepid climbers failed on this occasion to summit, but will soon return, to get to the place on Earth that is closest to Heaven ‘
Two years later, in 1924, Mallory did indeed return, with his chum Irvine. No one knows if they did actually summit, but they did both get to Heaven, falling to their deaths, dying in their attempt to get near it.