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.
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
between layers and made-to-measure cut and cunning tailoring also
enhances mobility - bigger
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
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
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