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Explorer's final letter to wife before dying on Mount Everest leaves people awestruck

The explorer had joined the first British missions to the summit of Mount Everest and during the final weeks of his life, he wrote several letters to his wife.

Explorer's final letter to wife before dying on Mount Everest leaves people awestruck
Cover Image Source: George Leigh Mallory and Brigadier Edward Felix Norton reach 27,000 feet on the north-east ridge of Mount Everest, in 1922. (Photo by Captain Noel/Hulton Archives/ Getty Images)

George Mallory was one of the many people who aspired to conquer the highest mountain peak on Earth but his expedition remained shrouded in mystery as he disappeared almost a century ago. According to CBS News, Mallory's quest to Everest still fascinates people because of how his body was discovered ages later along with a bunch of letters that he had written to his wife on his last days before disappearing. The letters that Mallory wrote to his wife Ruth, have been finally published online by Magdalene College where Mallory was a student.


The letters that remained preserved with Mallory's body under the snowy mountain expressed his last mix of emotions during the expedition where he and his team were losing hope. Mallory and his team wanted to become the first party to climb Mount Everest but his journey ahead with teammate Andrew Irvine ended in tragedy. Even though it was never made clear if Mallory and Irvine reached the summit or not, Mallory's body was discovered 75 years after he disappeared on the mountain but Irvine's body was never recovered.


"An expedition to Mount Everest has found the body of the famous British climber, George Mallory, who disappeared 75 years ago a short distance from the summit. The team said they spotted the corpse protruding from the snow about 600m below the top of Everest. Mallory's name tag was on the clothing and a rope was still around his waist," a BBC World Service news report from May 4, 1999 mentioned. "Darling I wish you the best I can - that your anxiety will be at an end before you get this - with the best news. It is 50 to 1 against us but we'll have a whack yet and do ourselves proud," the recently publicized letter that Mallory wrote to Ruth from the base camp in Nepal, read, per CBS News


Additionally, Mallory had written about his trials and triumphs as he slowly climbed the mountain. "This has been a bad time altogether," Mallory wrote 12 days before he was last seen alive. "I look back on tremendous efforts and exhaustion and dismal looking out of a tent door and onto a world of snow and vanishing hopes. Yet, there have been a good many things to set on the other side." The British climber had also written about having sleepless nights due to the coughing fits he had developed


"In I went with the snow tumbling all around me, down luckily only about 10 feet before I fetched up half-blind and breathless to find myself most precariously supported only by my ice axe somehow caught across the crevasse and still held in my right hand," his letter continued. "Below was a very unpleasant black hole." American rock climber and mountaineer Conrad Anker discovered Mallory's body at 26,700 feet from the summit in 1999. "I still believe the possibility is there they made it to the top but it is very unlikely," Anker said in a documentary which traced the steps of Mallory and Irvine and tried to recreate their climb.


However, from Ruth's side, there has been only one surviving letter that was recovered by Magdalene College. Ruth wrote to her husband from England and she detailed her life in the country with Mallory away on the expedition. "I know I have rather often been cross and not nice and I am very sorry but the bottom reason has nearly always been because I was unhappy at getting so little of you," Ruth wrote on March 3, 1924. "I know it is pretty stupid to spoil the times I do have you for those when I don't." In Mallory's final letter to his wife, he wrote how "the candle is burning out and I must stop" ironically after which, he disappeared.


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