Graham Hoyland and the Mallory Myth: Wool, Cotton, Silk, Leather

source BMC Oct/2007
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+Mallory, 49 kb We still do not know whether George Mallory and Sandy Irvine summited on Everest in 1924, but we do know that the clothing they wore did not prevent them.

In July 2001, the Mallory artefacts, recovered by the 1999 Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition, arrived at the National Mountaineering Exhibition.

It took nearly 3 years of intensive scientific analysis (including scanning electron microscopy and microphotography, spectrometry, X ray spectroscopy) and detective work, to transform the rags brought back from Everest into testable replicas.

The research revealed:

  • Their layers of wool, silk and cotton was lighter than modern clothing and extremely comfortable to wear.
  • Mallory's boot was the lightest ever used on Everest.
  • The 1924 Everesters were lightweight specialists who understood their clothing better than most modern climbers.

    The complete set of garments was field tested on Everest, by Graham Hoyland, the great nephew of Howard Somervell, in April 2006. He confirmed that the replicated garments indeed formed a sophisticated, effective and comfortable clothing system which "was perfectly adequate for a summit bid."

    On Wednesday 3rd October Graham Hoyland, the great-nephew of 1920s Everest mountaineer Howard Somervell, will give a talk at the Royal Geographical Society about the clothing worn by the 1924 expedition and what clues they give as to whether Mallory and Irvine reached the summit.

    More details at thebmc.co.uk/News

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