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George Mallory Statue: Good Idea or No?

The year 2024 marks 100 years since British climbers George Mallory and Sandy Irvine disappeared somewhere near the first step on Everest.

To mark this centenary and to celebrate the life and climbs of Mallory, Anthony Harrison — who grew up in a village close to Mallory’s birthplace in the north of England — wants to build a life-sized bronze statue of Mallory and Irvine.

“Before all this, I didn’t know a lot about Mallory, so I was a little bit shocked that I grew up local to such a fantastic British hero,” says Harrison.

“Mallory has inspired so many global leaders over the decades, from King George VI to U.S. president John F. Kennedy, who directly quoted him in his 1952 space-race speech. Kennedy said that the US is going into space ‘because it is there.’”

In addition to the statue, Harrison wants to place a plaque on Hobcroft House, Mallory’s childhood home, as well as install information boards around the village of Mallory’s birth.

Mallory and Irvine still capture the imagination of climbing fans worldwide due to the tantalizing possibility (however unlikely) that they may have reached the summit of Everest before vanishing, some 30 years before Hillary and Tenzing achieved that first in 1953.

It wasn’t until 1999 that Mallory’s body was recovered by Conrad Anker in an expedition led by Eric Simonson.

Memorializing Mallory and Irvine in a statue may be a controversial move though.

In recent years, we have seen many colonial-era statues hauled off of their plinths in the UK and US by social activists.

With Mallory and Irvine, some argue that equal attention should go to the Sherpas who assisted Mallory across several attempts on Everest. A number of Sherpas lost their lives in the process.

Whatever side of the argument you reside on, Harrison nicely sums up the qualities that many still admire in these British climbers of yesteryear: “He was fully aware of the risk but he had the passion and the drive to achieve something that nobody else had.”

And regardless of whether he gets a statue or not, Mallory’s tale still echoes through the generations and inspires adventure goers worldwide. That’s more powerful than any physical memorial.

Source: Ash Routen – EXPLORERSWEB

Header: George Mallory and Andrew Irvine on June 8, 1924. Behind the Second Step on the Everest.

“The scenery is about the last hours of their climbing towards to their destiny” – Illustration: Balázs Petheő

Notes:

The lost camera is a Vestpocket Kodak that belonged to George Mallory.

If the camera is intact, there is a possibility its photographic film is still recoverable and could contain vital images that could settle one of the great unsolved exploration mysteries of the 20th century: Were Mallory and Andrew Irvine the first to summit Everest or did they die painfully close to the top?

When Mallory’s body was recovered in 1999, his camera was not among the artifacts found on his remains. This has caused veteran Everest researchers to speculate that the camera was being carried by his climbing partner. Irvine’s body has not been recovered, but Holzel is pretty certain he knows where it is.

“Two people have seen the body and it’s near where they were,” said a researcher, referring to a possible body he has spotted in survey photographs of the same part of the mountain. “I’m about 85 percent confident in this one.”

The camera has to be recovered without ruining what images might exist on the film. Just how to do that has been studied exhaustively by Eastman Kodak experts, who have provided a series detailed procedures to follow.

The good news is that Everest’s frozen, dry conditions are the best for preserving film. The bad news is that depending on how the camera is protected, the images may have been degraded over the years by cosmic rays.

Source: NBC News

Introduced in 1912, the original Kodak “Vest Pocket” Camera represented “breakthrough technology” for its day. The pocket-sized folding camera looked almost exactly like the larger folding Kodaks but used a new small film size. The little rolls of film yielded eight 1 5/8″ X 2 1/2″ exposures each—large enough to make contact prints but small enough to keep the camera palm-sized. The so-called “miniature” camera first retailed at $6.00—far less than the larger folding models—and became popular with soldiers during World War One.

The “Vest Pocket Model B,” which Mallory used on Everest, was introduced in 1924, and included several new design features. One of the most significant was the “autographic” window on the camera back. By sliding a small door open, the photographer was able to inscribe some information about the picture through the backing paper, directly onto the film—a distant ancestor to today’s “day / date” modes in some electronic cameras. Improvements were also made in roll-loading by making the entire front of the camera removable.

Note: for more details, also check National Geographic magazine