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Mallory and Irvine: Did extreme weather cause their disappearance?
Date:8/2/2010

Their legend has inspired generations of mountaineers since their ill-fated attempt to climb Everest over 80 years ago, and now a team of scientists believe they have discovered another important part of the puzzle as to why George Mallory and Andrew Irvine never returned from their pioneering expedition. The research, published in Weather, explores the unsolved mystery and uses newly uncovered historical data collected during their expedition to suggest that extreme weather may have contributed to their disappearance.

George Mallory and Andrew 'Sandy' Irvine disappeared during their historic 1924 attempt to reach the summit of Everest. The pair were last seen on June 8th on Everest's Northeast Ridge, before vanishing into the clouds and into the history books. For decades a vigorous debate has raged regarding their climb, their disappearance and if they were successful in reaching the summit.

"The disappearance of Mallory and Irvine is one of the most enduring mysteries of the 20th century, yet throughout the debates surrounding their disappearance the issue of the weather has never really been addressed," said lead author Professor G.W.K Moore of the Physics Department at the University of Toronto. "Until we completed our study the only information available was an observation by mountaineer Noel Odell, who was climbing behind Mallory and Irvine, who claimed that a blizzard occurred on the afternoon that they disappeared."

Many writers have since ignored the storm as Odell believed it had only lasted a short time. However the size and extreme height of Everest mean that Odell's observations have always been difficult to place into context, making the blizzard potentially more significant than first realised.

This latest research focuses on meteorological measurements from the 1924 expedition which the authors uncovered at the Royal Geographical Society library in London. Although the data was published as a t
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Contact: Ben Norman
Lifesciencenews@wiley.com
44-124-377-0375
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert  

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