A new BBC film, including material which has never been televised before, about the ill-fated expedition to Everest in 1924. On 8 June of that year, two climbers, George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, disappeared during the final assault on the world's highest mountain. Their names have gone down in history. What happened to them? Did they reach the summit? How did they die?
Three survivors take part in this programme: photographer Captain John Noel, geologist Professor Noel Odell and medical missionary T. Howard Somervell. With the aid of Noel's original photographs and film, they tell the story of their journey through Tibet and the attempt to conquer Everest.
On that last fateful day, Noel waited and watched with his cameras, but mist and cloud hid the summit. On another part of the mountain Odell caught a glimpse of Mallory and Irvine about midday: two tiny figures a few hundred feet from the top. He was the last man to see them alive. In the following days he was to climb, alone, to 27,000 feet, searching for trace of them, without success. Somervell was at a lower camp recovering from a climb to over 28,000 feet with Colonel Norton, leader of the Expedition, a climb, without oxygen, that still stands as a world record.
We shall probably never know how Mallory and Irvine died. But we know why they died. Somervell feels that 'death in battle against a mountain is a far finer and nobler thing than death in battle against an enemy who you're trying to kill.'
(Mallory and Irvine: two against Everest: page 12)