Captain C. Geoffrey Bruce has the singular distinction of being the only
member of the Third British Expedition to Everest in 1924 to have a relative
among the team. He was the younger cousin of Brigadier General Charles G.
Bruce who was the leader of the expedition but who was indisposed due to a
flare-up of Malaria.
Geoffrey Bruce, who was described
by 1922 expedition member George Finch as “Tall, of athletic build, strong,
endowed with a great fund of mental energy—an invaluable asset on ventures of
this kind—and cheerful in any situation,” was a member of both the 1922
expedition (wherein he was one of the Transport Officers) and the 1924
expedition which saw the disappearance of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine on
an attempt at Everest’s summit.
On May 23’rd 1922 Finch and Bruce climbed the North Ridge to
27,300 using oxygen. Two weeks later Mallory led an attempt at the summit.
While leading the descent from the North
Col Mallory was caught in an avalanche that claimed the lives of seven
Sherpas. These were the
first reported deaths on Everest. During the 1924 expedition Bruce helped haul
loads up to Camp V. He developed a distended heart from the exertion under
Everest’s harsh condition and was unable to do further high-altitude work.
Geoffrey Bruce passed away in 1972 while his climbing
partner George Ingle Finch died in 1970. Their attempted route up Everest
would remain unclimbed until the fall of 1993.
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