BBC Man Wants To Recreate Mallory Climb

Graham Hoyland wants to prove that Mallory and Irvine could have climbed Everest in 1924 by recreating their attempt for television with modern climbers wearing exact replicas of their kit and clothing.

Posted: 28 September 2006
by Jon

Graham Hoyland, a BBC producer and the great nephew of 1924 Everest climber Howard Somervell, wants to recreate the Mallory and Irvine climb for a documentary film in order to prove that the pair really could have summited the mountain.

Speaking at yesterday's Innovations for Extremes event at Lancaster University, Hoyland revealed that he'd worn the replica kit briefly at 22,000 feet on Everest earlier this year and had been struck by the combination of lightness and mobility from the multi-layered, natural-fibred outfit.

Mallory's full outfit above consisted of multiple mainly silk and woollen layers;
despite using up to eight layers, the thin silk fabric allows for easy movement
between layers and made-to-measure cut and cunning tailoring also
enhances mobility -
bigger picture

He'd been able to cut steps without hindrance and could step up easily thanks to the cut of the clothing. However, Hoyland, who is convinced the pair made it to the summit, says that while the clothing would be quite adequate for active climbing on the peak, it was highly unlikely that anyone wearing it would be able to survive a bivvy high on the mountain.

He now believes that the 1924 pair summited Everest but were benighted with Mallory falling to his death and Irvine probably succumbing to the cold and exhaustion during an attempted bivvy high on the mountain.

Second Step Feasible?

It's also recently come to light that Austrian and Spanish climbers using old-fashioned clothing and equipment have been able to climb the second step without using ladders or fixed ropes.

Until now, it's been argued that 1920s climbers would have been unable to cope with the technical difficulties of the step at that altitude, however it now seems that it may be more feasible than previously believed.


The ultimate proof would be the discovery of the vaunted camera with possible summit shots, but Hoyland is trying to get backing for a documentary which would recreate the climb with modern mountaineers using exact replicas of Mallory and Irving's clothing and equipment.

If successful, it would show that regardless of whether the pair did climb the mountain in 1924, it would, at least, have been theoretically possible for them to do so.

Full report on the Innovations for Extremes event shortly with more details.

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Discuss this story

A similar attempt with similar clothes was made some years ago, one spanish climber member of "al filo de lo imposible" tve program ...

Posted: 28/09/2006 at 13:55

For months now I have been eagerly seeking a comprehensive gear list of what the Mallory expedition brought on their climb. Would that information be available anywhere? It could teach us so much about our own gear choices today.

Posted: 28/09/2006 at 20:18

Does the BBC Man want to recreate the entire outcome of the climb?

Posted: 01/10/2006 at 19:31

Talkback: BBC Man Wants To Recreate Mallory Climb

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