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  Mallory and Irvine The Final Chapter:

Dr. T. Howard Somervell


Described by his great-nephew as a ". . . a true polymath, a Renaissance man," Dr. T. Howard Somervell was a surgeon, artist and musician, and clearly a man of extraordinary talents and accomplishments. Somervell has a direct link to one of the most enduring mysteries of George Mallory & Sandy Irvine's 1924 attempt at the Everest summit. Mallory and Irvine were in Camp IV on the North Col. Preparing for their final attempt at the summit when Mallory realized he had forgotten his own camera. Mallory & Irvine passed Norton & Somervell, returning from their own record height, although Somervell had almost suffocated, coughing up the lining of this throat. As the story goes, Mallory borrowed Somervell's Kodak VPK and headed up the mountain. Though Mallory's body was found in 1999, the camera, which may prove whether or not Mallory and Irvine reached the summit, remains lost somewhere on Everest's vast slopes.

Somervell was a close friend of co-expedition member Bentley Beetham. The two men had just had a successful Alpine climbing season, having completed thirty-five climbs in six weeks. Following the 1924 expedition Somervell would dedicate his life to caring for the poor in India, spending many years in the countryside as a physician.

 

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