2020 / Film / National Geographic
Lost On Everest
Reaching 29,029 feet, Mount Everest has long captivated mountaineers of all stripes. But a peak that draws athletes and mountaineers to new heights isn’t without danger — or a dark side. Perhaps the peak’s greatest mystery is the missing body of Andrew “Sandy” Irvine who disappeared alongside George Leigh Mallory in 1924 just 800 vertical feet from the summit. In Lost on Everest, we follow along as a team of elite climbers with new intel on the location of his missing body set out to solve what may be mountaineering’s great mystery. Along with the body, the team hopes to find Irvine’s camera and the footage that could rewrite history.
Who achieved the first summit? Was it really George Mallory? Or his partner Sandy Irvine, who disappeared with Mallory in 1924 on the descent.
While Mallory’s body was discovered in 1999, Irvine’s has yet to be found. On this quest, there are reflections on the history of Everest expeditions, the fraught relationship between indigenous guides and expeditioners, the rigors of high-alpine mountaineering and the commercialization of sacred Everest. Despite Mallory’s famous retort to it, the question remains:
Why climb Everest?
What might Sandy Irvine’s corpse reveal that justifies the mortal risks of the expedition?