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Ghosts of Everest: The Search for Mallory & Irvine

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,337 ratings  ·  76 reviews

Did Mallory and Irvine reach Everest's summit 30 years before Hillary and Tenzing? Until now, clues about what happened to these two Everest pioneers had been scant and misleading. Until now, no one has known whether they reached the summit. Until now, no one has known where or how they perished.

This is a detective story of the first order. It is the story not just of M

Paperback, 205 pages
Published December 3rd 2005 by Mountaineers Books (first published 1999)
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4.05  · 
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 ·  1,337 ratings  ·  76 reviews

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Nov 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
The story of the 1999 expedition to Mt. Everest, not to reach the summit, but to search for evidence of what happened to George Mallory and Andrew Irvine on that fateful day in 1924. Did they reach the summit before they perished? That's one of the great mysteries of the 20th century. What happened on this new expedition is legend of it's own, making a remarkable discovery some 75 years after the tragedy. It didn't solve the mystery, but it did bring closure for thousands of people whose imagina ...more
Oh, this book was amazing. AMAZING. Brilliant in its structure paralleling the stages of progress of the 1924 expedition and the 1999 research expedition; dispassionate and fascinating in laying out the evidence and eliminating impossibilities; heartbreaking in actually delving into the characters of Mallory & Irvine and producing several convincing and well-researched reconstructive accounts of what most likely happened. It was the perfect blend of objectivity in research and emotional invo ...more
Joy D
Non-fiction account of the 1999 Mallory & Irvine Research Expedition to seek answers to the mystery of what happened to them during their 1924 ascent of Everest. Did they make it to the top? What is the evidence that says they did or did not? And what happened to them on that last day when they disappeared? This book attempts to answer these questions as much as is possible from the evidence in existence. Three of the 1999 participants told their story to William Nothdurft, who has done an e ...more
Jul 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The subtitle of Ghosts of Everest, The Search for Mallory & Irvine, tells the subject of the book. It is the story of the 1999 expedition that discovered Mallory's body and began to unravel a mystery that has been plaguing mountaineers since the disappearance of Mallory and Irvine in 1924. Mallory and Irvine were last seen "going strong for the summit" on June 6, 1924. Mallory's body was discovered in a remarkably well-preserved condition by the 1999 expedition on May 1, 1999. The book was w ...more
In 1999, the authors, along with others including a crew from the BBC, got together to climb Mount Everest, not necessarily with the plan to summit, but wanting to find clues to George Mallory’s and Andrew Irvine’s disappearance and the mystery as to whether or not they’d actually been the first to summit the mountain in 1924. This book details that expedition, in addition to telling the story of Mallory and Irvine, in general.

The first half of the book – including preparation and parts of the
Lenny Husen
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was AWESOME. Written in 1999, it chronicles the Expedition to Climb Everest in search of evidence of George Mallory and Sandy Levine, the two British Mountaineers who attempted to Summit Everest in 1924 and vanished "into thin air" leaving only an ice ax behind.
In the same way that so much depended upon William Carlos Williams' wheelbarrow, the vitality and pathos of the artifacts and body they found is soul stirring. A watch with no hands, a fingerless glove, a book of matches, letters a
Chet Herbert
I find it inexplicable that the 1999 Mallory & Irvine Research Expedition stopped searching for Andrew Irvine's body once they stumbled across George Mallory, a bit after half an hour on the first day of their investigation, and, instead, decided to summit Everest themselves a few days later. The reason for searching the area was because members of the 1975 Chinese expedition claimed they found a body of an Englishman. Why not continue to search for Irvine as well since they found a differen ...more
Jan 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Armchair mountaineers
I've had this book on my shelf for a while and idly picked it up on New Year's Day--and finished reading it within 24 hours. It's a very brisk, engaging account of the 1999 Everest expedition that located the long-lost body of pioneering mountaineer George Mallory, who disappeared along with Sandy Irvine during a 1924 summit attempt. If they succeeded (and some say they very well may have, although no one knows for sure), they would have been the first men to top the world's highest mountain, th ...more
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a completely wonderful book! The quote on the back of my copy says "brilliantly constructed" and that is certainly true, the seamless blending of the 1924 expedition and the 1999 one is outstanding. Both stories were utterly compelling and beautifully described. The detail was intense and the comparisons between the expeditions served to bring both vividly to life.
I was so moved at so many points but most particularly at the discovery of Mallory's body, I could barely take it in, even with
Sep 19, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
An account of the 1999 expedition to find Mallory and Irvine. Conrad Anker's account, The Lost Explorer, is a lot more personal, but this one has some good info and lots of color picture. Be warned, it contains pictures of Mallory's remains, which could be disturbing. I recommend not reading the last chapter before bed, as it also contains a very vivid description about how Mallory and Irvine likely died. Dark Summit by Nick Heil is another good book on Everest, about the disastrous 1996 season.
Lukrezia Cosimo
Feb 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mountaineering
Not a classic, but an interesting read. The experience was rather spoilt by me pouring most of a bottle of mineral water over the book.
May 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Amazing story and the photos are unbelievable.
Beth Skubis
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully done, coffee-table-style account of the late '90s expedition to find the remains of George Mallory and his young climbing partner, Sandy Irvine, who disappeared during their Mount Everest summit attempt in 1924. This book is distinguishable not on the basis of its writing, which is fine but pedestrian, but on the content--in terms of written revelations and photographs. I would strongly recommend reading a book of the caliber of "Into the Silence", which gorgeously probes t ...more
Ken Peters
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love reading books on Everest, as well as reading history, so it’s difficult for me not to love this book! The authors did a fabulous job of writing parallel accounts of the fated 1924 climbing expedition and their 1999 research expedition, and I appreciated how careful they were with the conclusions that they came to. Along with so many others, I’m also fascinated by the memories of who George Mallory was and what he accomplished on Everest, and so I found it hard to put this book down. This ...more
Sally Edsall
May 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: travel, everest
I have read lots of books about Everest and I am reluctant to say it is the "best" book on the subject because I think there are many good books.
But this one is special. The quality of production is excellent - beautifully illustrated with photos integrated throughout the text. And a simply fascinating story, well told.
Jul 12, 2017 rated it liked it
The photos and the story is amazing, although I feel like much of the detail about putting the expedition together could have been left out, especially bits about how awful the BBC were to work with. Just jump right into the expedition itself please.
Melissa Kiefer
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book sparked an utter fascination with Mt. Everest in me. It is written beautifully and makes quite a case for Mallory being the first to summit.
Jan 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book was fascinating. I must confess that I've always been attracted to books with real-life mysteries. Preferrably ones that don't deal with murders. This was a detailed and captivating account. I loved the fact that it was able to answer some questions about George Mallory. Naturally not all questions were answered and probably never will be, but it brings closure to so many lives.

I want to say that I didn't know who George Mallory was before reading the book. However, I became so caught
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 1999 the Irvine/Mallory expedistion (including a camera crew from the BBC) headed to Mt. Everest to retrace the step of Andrew Irvine and George Mallory on their summit expedition from June 8, 1924. Mallory and Irvine were reportedly spotted from camp at 12:50 PM that day, not far from the summit. That was the last time anyone would see them. They disappeared into legend. But the question remains, did they make the summit?

The team takes the reader down the road from the conception of the idea
Peter Stuart
Jun 21, 2018 rated it liked it
To quote a famous man, the fate of these two trail blazing men "... is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key.". it is a key that many have searched for since that fateful day in 1936, in a part of the world that was closed to Westerners for many, many years, and in itself holds an attraction now to more climbers than ever before given the commercialisation and commoditisation of mount Everest climbs.

However, who was the first to summit? And is there, with M
Feb 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really good companion to Dark Summit The True Story of Everest's Most Controversial Season and High Crimes CD The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed.

In 1924, two climbers, George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, left on their third attempt to climb Everest. They were never seen again. A couple of blacks specks had been seen through a scope making their way toward the summit, but no confirmation was ever received or discovered that it had been reached.

This book describes the expedition that discovere
Dean Hutson
Jul 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quite an excellent read!
It's seldom that one comes across a book that truly is hard to put down - this is one of them.
The search for George Mallory and Andrew Irvine has been the grist, the focus, the obesssion for both searchers and authors since the 1924 British Everest attempt that claimed both their lives....and until 1999, Mallory's body.
A well put together and methodical (in a good way) telling of the original '24 expedition and the eventual discovery of Mallory's remains in '99 takes you
Oct 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
This nonfiction adventure book can be considered not only 2 mountain climbing adventures set three quater of a century apart, but a detective story.For one side we have the story of the expedition of 1924 by two british climbers, Mallory & Irvine that attempted to climb Mount Everest.The interesting part of this expedition was that they all disappeared, but the last time they were seen they were very near the summit and they had very good weather. So for years in the world of exploration and ...more
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Jul 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book for a number of reasons. That I like mountaineering albeit vicariously as I do suffer more and more from vertigo, I have always been fascinated by Mallory and Irvine and my granny used to live with the sister of one of the members of their Everest expeditions.

The book tells of how (in 1999 I think) this team of modern day explorers and mountaineers and the Sherpas of course set out to find the bodies of George Mallory and Andrew Irvine last seen only a few hundred metres from E
Apr 15, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009-reads
I read this book as a companion to Jeffrey Archer's "Paths of Glory." One of the tasks in the book challenge I'm doing this spring is to read a fiction and a non-fiction book on the same subject. There are quite a few non-fiction books about George Mallory and the Everest expeditions in the 1920's. But, this was the only one my library had. It got off to a slow start with a lot of detail about the back-and-forth between various sponsors and interested parties in mounting the 1999 expedition, but ...more
ACS Librarian
There 19s a lot of logistics in this adventure. And a lot of reasons to dislike the BBC. And a lot of glowing descriptions of Mount Everest majesty. All that may be necessary, but none of it gets to the core: what happened to George Mallory and Andrew Irvine on Everest in 1924? How did they die, and did they make it to the summit? The authors put together an expedition in the late 1990s to find out. They 19ve made some amazing discoveries, enough to make it worth sifting through all the backgrou ...more
Jerry Smith
Mar 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Story of the successful attempt to find the bodies of Mallory and Irvine who died attempting to summit Everest in 1924. The mystery of what happened to them is compelling, and the finding of Mallory in 1999 shed some light on what happened although the mystery of whether they made it remains intact.

Takes a little time to get going with the story of the difficulties in getting the expedition together but it is gripping when they make the discovery and well told in it's summary of what seemed to h
Oct 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is fascinating. I LOVED how it parallels the two expeditions- the 1924 English Expedition and the 1994 search! I also loved how each member of the team (except the BBC, evidently) truly contributes to the search - from going to verify viewpoints to going to verify a free climb up the second step. The pictures were stunning, the maps and landmarks very educational! The book is a wonderfully fascinating tale, woven very skillfully by Bill Nothdurft from the expedition records and journal ...more
Int'l librarian
There’s a lot of logistics in this adventure. And a lot of reasons to dislike the BBC. And a lot of glowing descriptions of Mount Everest majesty. All that may be necessary, but none of it gets to the core: what happened to George Mallory and Andrew Irvine on Everest in 1924? How did they die, and did they make it to the summit? The authors put together an expedition in the late 1990s to find out. They’ve made some amazing discoveries, enough to make it worth sifting through all the background n ...more
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