the wildest dream

The fate of the Everest climbers George Mallory and Sandy Irvine remains one of the great conundrums of mountaineering.

Did or didn’t they reach the top in 1924?

Both died in the attempt, but it wasn’t until 1999 that any real evidence about what happened to them came to light.

The discovery of Mallory’s hauntingly-preserved body by an American expedition is an unforgettable image captured in the documentary ‘The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest.’

I first saw it a couple of years ago, but was very pleased to see it repeated the other night on BBC Four.

It marries archive footage shot on the original 1924 expedition plus letters between Mallory and his beloved wife Ruth as well as contemporary sequences where the climbers recreated their doomed attempt.

Ruth’s letters were read by the late actress Natasha Richardson, who died in 2009 after a ski-ing accident, and to whom ‘The Wildest Dream’ is dedicated.

Having recently read the excellent ‘Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest Of Everest’ (Vintage) by Wade Davis, the documentary was even more poignant.

The Wildest Dream: Conquest Of Everest – BBC iPlayer

Into The Silence 2 blogpost – 7th January 2013

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