Explorer details finding missing body on Everest

Travis Reed

It wasn’t reaching the summit of Mt. Everest in June that made Conrad Anker famous; it was what he found along the way: the body of famed mountaineer Sir George Mallory.
Anker was at the University on Monday to promote his new book, “The Lost Explorer: Finding Mallory on Everest.” He gave a slide-show presentation of the Everest expedition to an audience of about 500 students and community members.
In the presentation, Anker highlighted the physical and mental trials climbers face when taking on a mountain like Everest.
“When you get to the mountain, it’s desolate and dry,” he said. “But even though not much is growing, the fire within to climb it rises every day.”
Unlike many of his predecessors, Anker was part of a six-member expedition group that shared a larger mission than simply reaching the 29,035 peak: to find the body of Sir George Mallory, an English climber who disappeared on the mountain in May 1924.
Ever since Mallory and crew member Sandy Irvine disappeared on the mountain more than 75 years ago, climbing buffs have debated whether the climbers met their deaths after or before reaching the summit.
When approaching the same summit just months ago, Anker said he and his crew were daunted by the tasks of conquering the mountain and finding their ill-fated predecessors.
“When I left, my friend thought we’d have the same opportunity of finding (Mallory) as finding a needle in a haystack, but it was still an opportunity to go to Everest,” he said. “I honestly didn’t expect to find him.”
Though Anker was on the expedition for his climbing ability, it was he who eventually found the body.
Although he says he’s pleased with the mission’s final outcome, he wishes it had come under different circumstances.
“If I could turn back the clock, I wish it wasn’t me who found him,” Anker said. “It’s not something I want to be remembered for.”
Even with Mallory’s body and belongings as evidence, the debate about his reaching the summit still rages on.
According to Anker, the expedition was more than successful even without those answers.
“If we can take a little bit of what they did, we’ve done something good,” he said. “What’s important is not whether or not they made it, but that they tried.”

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