Everest climber George Mallory’s letters published 100 years on from disappearance | UK News

Letters written by one of Britain’s most famous – and ill-fated – mountaineers and explorers have been published online.

The letters from George Mallory, who disappeared on Mount Everest in 1924, to his wife Ruth have been published by his former Cambridge University college, Magdalene.

He was 37 when he and his climbing partner Andrew Irvine vanished close to the summit of the world’s highest mountain.

Seventy-five years later, Mallory’s body was found, but Irvine’s remains lost.

It is still not known whether they made it to the top of the mountain.

The letters have been published to mark 100 years since his disappearance.

Most of the correspondence was between their engagement in 1914 and his death, including the last letter he wrote before his final summit attempt, where he described the odds as “50 to 1 against us”.

“Darling I wish you the best I can – that your anxiety will be at an end before you get this – with the best news. Which will also be the quickest,” he wrote.

“It is 50 to 1 against us but we’ll have a whack yet & do ourselves proud.”

He signed off the letter: “Great love to you. Ever your loving, George.”

Read more:
Last Climber On 1953 Everest Expedition Dies (2013)
Sherpa guide Kami Rita scales Mount Everest for a record 28th time
Plans to move Everest base camp almost 400m lower due to risk of melting glacier

His letters also cover his first reconnaissance mission to Everest in 1921 and his second expedition a year later, when seven sherpas were killed in an avalanche, for which he blamed himself.

He also described his service in the First World War, including being in the Artillery during the Battle of the Somme.

Follow Sky News on WhatsApp
Follow Sky News on WhatsApp

Keep up with all the latest news from the UK and around the world by following Sky News

Tap here

A letter Ruth Mallory wrote to her husband – the only surviving one from this period – has also been published online, where she writes: “I think I want your companionship even more than I used to.

“I know I have rather often been cross and not nice and I am very sorry but the bottom reason has nearly always been because I was unhappy at getting so little of you.

“I know it is pretty stupid to spoil the time I do have you for those when I don’t.”

Three other letters found with Mallory’s body in 1999 have also been published – one from his brother, Trafford Leigh-Mallory, a letter believed to be from expedition support Stella Cobden-Sanderson, and a letter from his sister Mary Brooke, written from Colombo in Sri Lanka.

Read more:
Everest facing mountain of rubbish as climbers leave waste behind
Everest filmmaker and mountaineer David Breashears dies aged 68

Magdalene College archivist Katy Green said: “It has been a real pleasure to work with these letters.

“Whether it’s George’s wife Ruth writing about how she was posting him plum cakes and a grapefruit to the trenches (he said the grapefruit wasn’t ripe enough), or whether it’s his poignant last letter where he says the chances of scaling Everest are ’50 to 1 against us’, they offer a fascinating insight into the life of this famous Magdalene alumnus.”

The letters are free to view on the Magdalene College website.

The first documented summit of Mount Everest was in 1953, by New Zealand climber Sir Edmund Hillary with Tibetan mountaineer Tenzing Norgay.