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  Mallory and Irvine The Final Chapter: Charles Bruce


Fortune, both good and bad, has a long history of deciding who summits Mt. Everest and who does not, as well as who lives and who dies. Such is the case with Brigadier-General Charles Granville Bruce, the leader of George Mallory's historic 1924 expedition to Mount Everest.

Bruce aka. "Bruiser", was a fluent Nepali speaker, a Himalayan veteran and a man who was impressive in deed and stature. He served with the legendary Gurkhas in the early part of the century and was severely wounded in WWI. He was assigned to a post in the Himalayas while serving as a lieutenant in the Indian Army where he developed a passion for climbing. His climbing experience was impressive having scaled Karakoram (1892), Nanga Parbat (1895), and Trisul (1907).

In 1922 Bruce led a British expedition to Everest, which reached a height of 8,320 meters before retreating. In 1924 Bruce was leader of the expedition that would see the deaths of Mallory and Irvine as they attempted the summit. Bruce himself had the misfortune of being felled by a flare up of malaria. He was forced to return to base camp and relinquish leadership of the expedition to Lt. Col Edward F. Norton. He would not make another attempt at Everest.

From 1931 to 1936 Bruce was Honorary Colonel of the 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles of the Indian Army. He died of a stroke in 1939.

 

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