Format Hardcover
Publication Date 05/07/24
ISBN 9781639366354
Trim Size / Pages 6 x 9 in / 352

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George Mallory and the Tragic 1924 Everest Expedition

Mick Conefrey

An authoritative, myth-piercing study of the world-famous explorer George Mallory, who disappeared on Mount Everest in 1924.

In the years following his disappearance near the summit of Mount Everest in June 1924 at the age of thirty-seven, George Mallory was elevated into a legendary international hero.

Dubbed "the Galahad of Everest,” he was lionized by the media as the greatest mountaineer of his generation—a man who had died while taking the ultimate challenge. His body was only recovered in 1999 and there is still speculation about whether he made it to the summit. Handsome, charismatic, and daring, Mallory was a skilled public speaker, athlete, technically-gifted climber, a committed Socialist, and a supremely attractive figure to both men and women. His friends ranged from the gay artists and writers of the Bloomsbury group to the best mountaineers of his era.

But that was only one side to him. Mallory was also a risk-taker who, according to his friend and first biographer David Pye, could never get behind the wheel of a car without trying to overtake the vehicle in front; a climber who pushed himself and those around him to the limits; a chaotic technophobe who was forever losing or mishandling equipment; a man who led his porters to their deaths in 1922, as well as his young climbing partner Andrew Irvine only two years later.

So who was the real Mallory? What were the forces that made him and ultimately destroyed him? Why did the man who, in 1922, denounced oxygen sets as "damnable heresy” himself perish on an oxygen-powered summit attempt two years later? And perhaps most importantly, what made him return to Everest for his third and final attempt?

Using diaries, letters, memoirs, and thousands of contemporary documents, Fallen is a gripping forensic investigation of Mallory’s last expedition that, at long last, separates the man from the myth.

Mick Conefrey is an award-winning writer and documentary film maker. He created the landmark BBC series The Race for Everest to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the first ascent. His previous books include The Adventurer’s Handbook; Everest 1953, the winner of a Leggimontagna Award; and The Ghosts of K2, which won a U.S. National Outdoor Book Award. Conefrey lives in England.

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Endorsements & Reviews

"Conefrey vividly captures both the man and his times, relying on unpublished diaries and letters to separate the myth of the gung-ho adventurer from the man as hopeful novelist, sexually attracted to both men and women, and ambivalent about the wisdom of attempting Everest a third time." Air Mail
"Mick Conefrey has become one of our finest gazetteers of the Himalaya." The Spectator (UK)
"Fallen, Mick Conefrey’s grippingly forensic examination of the 1924 British Everest expedition — a tragic failure that was so nearly a triumph—helps to explain why the achievements of Mallory and his companions remain as fascinating as the first successful ascent by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay 29 years later." The Financial Times
"Why climb Mount Everest? 'Because it’s there,' George Mallory famously said. Then he died trying. Mr. Conefrey knows his characters and subject well."

The Wall Street Journal
"Mick Conefrey's Fallen is a marvelously researched and written story about the enigma of George Mallory and the fulfillment of his 'because it's there!'" Peter Hillary
"Compelling, thoroughly researched and beautifully written, Mick Conefrey’s Fallen is a biography that strives to get to the heart and mind, and not just the achievements, of one of the most famous and obsessive mountaineers in history.”

Robert Wainwright, author of The Maverick Mountaineer
"Mallory and Irvine's 1924 attempt on Everest is a foundational mountaineering epic, and Mick Conefrey's Fallen brings the story to life in gripping style. George Mallory—imperfect and all too human, admirable and ambitious—drives the narrative as Conefrey details not only the 1924 expedition, but also its backstory and aftermath. Mallory and the mysteries surrounding his attempt on the world's highest mountain still grip the world's imagination today; Conefrey's deeply-researched and convincingly-told account shows us why. Fallen belongs on the shelf of Himalayan and Everest classics.”

Patrick Dean, author of A Window to Heaven: The Daring First Ascent of Denali: America's Wildest Peak