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|The majestic North Face of Mount Everest.|
When George Mallory, a British Mountaineer from the twenties, was asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest so desperately, he answered: 'Because it's there...'. This answer is the answer that explains most of man's curiosity, a hunger to go where one hasn't been befor. The degree in which people do that can range from visiting the nearest town called Nowhere, to seeking adventure, life and even death on quests like climbing Mount Everest.
George Mallory accomplished more then anyone befor him in 1924, and almost 30 years after him. He became a legend of Everest, his secret is hidden by the mountain. Did he or did he not make it to the summit? Untill now, no one can tell. After expeditions in 1921 and 1922 he went out for a summit bid in june 1924. He was climbing with Andrew Irvine. They were last seen through a telescope at June 8th at the base of the Second Step, a major obstacle at an altitude of approximately 8600 meters. No one had been higher on earth ever. Also, no one had ever seen or heard of them untill recently. In May of 1999, a Mallory & Irvine Research Expedition, lead by Eric Simonson, found Mallory's body at an altitude of 8400 meters. He probably fell down from quite a height. Research in the surrounding area didn't reveal the camera Mallory was carrying. The camera that would give the most certain proof of weather they actually did or did not reach the summit in 1924. After this, the world had to wait almost 30 years for Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, who reached the summit on May 29th 1953.
Since that first summit, approximately 1300 people have summited Everest. Out of every nine people reaching the summit, on average one doesn't come back alife. Until the nineties, summitting was something for international expeditions only. Nowadays however, commercial bussinesses have arised who give access to high altitude mountaineering for ordinary people. More precise, ordinary people with money, because joining a commercial Everest expedition costs about $30,000 to $80,000. Commercial climbing provides guides for guiding and trailbraking. Local inhabitans of Tibet and Nepal, Sherpas, take care of most of the workload. They establish camps high up on the mountain and carry equipment, food and oxygen.
The fascination for the Mallory & Irvine mystery has driven me to mountaineering.
How would it be? Why do people climb high mountains? What is it like to
stand on a summit? In mountaineering myself, I hope to be able to answer
these questions myself, and, of course, enjoy the mountains from close