As we do, occasionally at IReallyAppreciateScience.com we show our appreciation for the science of the technical climb and the human capacity to endure it; to those who have done it, and to those who have died in the attempt.
“We do it, because its hard.” “We do it, because it’s there,” said JFK, quoting Lt. George Mallory, on climbing Mt. Everest, in describing the future Moon mission, Apollo 11.
“Why did you want to climb Mount Everest?” This question was asked of George Leigh Mallory, who was with both expeditions toward the summit of the world’s highest mountain, in 1921 and 1922, and who is now in New York. He plans to go again in 1924, and he gave as the reason for persisting in these repeated attempts to reach the top, “Because it’s there.” – The New York Times, 1923
In 1999, he and his climbing partner’s remains were found from the 1924 expedition. They were last seen only 245 meters below the summit. Film on the camera found with him indicate the two may have summited, but did not survive the descent from the summit.
August 1-2, 2008, a team of Americans and others set out to summit K2 from their basecamp. This August will be the 10th Anniversary of the untimely deaths of eleven on the most “savage” of peaks. One-in-four die on the mountain of those who summit it. In 2008, the statistics got more real – eleven (11) climbers died high on K2 in one of the deadliest episodes in mountaineering history.
We pay tribute to Jim Whittaker and the first Americans to Summit K2 in 1978 successfully, the third national team to do so after the Italian and Japanese teams, and to all those who attempted to summit.