George. L. Mallory was a famed British mountaineer and explorer. Long before Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first people to summit it, Mallory joined a British expedition to reach the top of Mount Everest.
In 1999, climbers working on the BBC’s “Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition” arrived at Everest with the sole purpose of locating the pair. Despite 75 years passing since Mallory and Irvine disappeared, the odds were good. The constantly freezing temperatures and permanent layer of permafrost on Everest preserve the bodies of climbers who perish on its slopes almost perfectly.
Irvine’s body was never found, though his climbing axe was located roughly 800 feet above Mallory’s body. Researchers concluded from the location of the axe, and a rope found tied around Mallory’s waist, that Mallory had likely been tied to Irvine, and either fell, dragging Irvine with him, or cut himself free before doing so. The pair’s death was attributed to a fall.
Whether or not George Mallory and Andrew Irvine ever reached the summit remains a mystery, though experts have speculated that the position of the body suggests that Mallory was climbing down the mountain, rather than up it. According to the survivors of the 1924 climbing expedition, Mallory was carrying a camera to document his and Irvine’s success, should they reach the summit, but no camera has ever been found.
Experts from Kodak have said that if a camera was ever found, the film could likely still be developed, though several expeditions in recent years to locate the film have proved to be fruitless.