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  Mallory and Irvine The Final Chapter:

Capt. C. Geoffrey Bruce


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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