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Last Hours on Everest: The gripping story of Mallory and Irvine's fatal ascent

Last Hours on Everest: The gripping story of Mallory and Irvine's fatal ascent [Kindle Edition]

Graham Hoyland
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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‘You have never read a book like Last Hours on Everest … Graham Hoyland has created a towering work full of twists and turns, like the backdrop’ Independent

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Dawn broke fine on that fatal day. A couple of thousand feet above the tiny canvas tent the summit of the world’s highest mountain stood impassively, waiting for someone to have the courage to approach.

Inside the ice-crusted shelter, two forms lay still as death. Then there was a groan, a stirring, and eventually the slow scratch of match against sandpaper. Low voices shared the high-altitude agonies of waking, the heating of water, the struggle with frozen boots.

As the sun rose through wisps of cloud beyond the Tibetan hills to the east, one of the men emerged through the tent flaps. It was a fine morning for the attempt, with only a few clouds in the sky. The two of them stood for a while, shuffling their feet and blowing into their hands. Inside the tent lay a mess of sleeping bags and food. The men lifted oxygen sets onto their backs, then they turned towards the mountain and stamped off into history.

On the 6th June, 1924, George Mallory and Sandy Irvine disappeared into the mists of history. George Mallory’s body was discovered high on Everest in 1999. Sandy Irvine’s body is still believed to be on the mountain having been rediscovered in 1975 by a Chinese climber who was killed the very next day.

In 1993, Graham Hoyland became the 15th English man to climb Everest having become obsessed by the mountain and the myth of what happened to Mallory and Irvine. It was his evidence that led to the discovery of Mallory’s body and it will be his evidence that will lead to the discovery of Sandy Irvine’s.

The Last Hours on Everest is the most detailed reconstruction of what happened after the two English climbing legends left the camp on that fateful day. Combining personal experience, the physical evidence found on the mountain and an insight into the hearts and minds of the two climbers, Graham Hoyland produces the most compelling description of what actually happened on that day and the answer to that most intriguing of questions – did they actually climb Everest?

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More About the Author

I wrote "Last Hours on Everest" because I finally figured out what happened to Mallory and Irvine when they disappeared during the 1924 Everest expedition.

I climbed the mountain in 1993 (becoming the 15th Briton to climb Everest). There are lots of good books on the topic, but very few by Everest summiteers who can draw on personal experience of the mountain. I've returned there nine times trying to discover exactly what happened up there. On the way, my 1999 expedition found George Mallory's body.

The combination of a long-kept family secret, high-altitude archaeology and cutting-edge science led me to the truth.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Mystery of Mallory on the Big Hill 1 Feb 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the best book (of many) I have read on this subject. Recommended by my friend Stephen Venables I consumed it whilst I shivered at Gokyo (High Himalaya, Nepal) in November (2013) - a copy now passing through the Khumbu community as I write this! I will buy fresh copy once I am back in UK. The book offers a very logical and believable conclusion, given all the information we have on the climb. I was especially interested in the WW1 angle - something I had never considered. The notion that Mallory had, in effect, a 'do or die' mentality is very convincing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mountain Kingdoms 3 Jan 2014
By Steve B
Compelling, fascinating, well written book telling the full story of Mallory and Irvine. So many things I did not know and the conclusion was such a surprise. I live in hope someone will find the camera. There is all the time in the world and people will go on searching, and one day someone will find it I am sure. Great read!!Straight Up: Himalayan Tales of the Unexpected
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Layman’s View. 30 Nov 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Very detailed in the history of Everest but not as gripping as many other books that I have read. It needs to be re-read to take in all the historical facts concerning the many climbing expeditions since 1922/ 24. A tremendous amount of research has gone into this book and for that the author is to be congratulated.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The last word on Mallory and Irvine. 25 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This really is the best, and probably the ultimate, analysis of whether or not Mallory and Irvine reached the summit of Everest in 1924. Graham Hoyland has been high on Everest many times, including its summit, both as a climber and as a film cameraman; he understands the mountain, then and now, like few others. The work is painstakingly researched, highly detailed and immensely readable, interspersed with lively personal anecdote and a wealth of experience. It's an exciting read, difficult to put down, and a MUST for anyone with an interest in the history of the world's highest mountain. This book should leap onto every mountaineer's bookshelf. Last Hours on Everest: The gripping story of Mallory and Irvine's fatal ascent
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitive, confident, and thorough 10 May 2014
It's customary to begin reviews of Everest books with the phrase "Much has been written on this subject." Well, much has indeed been written regarding George Mallory and Mount Everest, but as I hope to demonstrate in this review, I believe Graham Hoyland has a great deal of value to say on the subject — and might even have done more to solve the mystery of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine than any other individual to date.

In 1924, George Mallory and his companion Sandy Irvine perished near the summit of Everest, but nobody has ever been able to establish whether or not the pair actually made it to the top. Graham Hoyland has made it his life's work to find out the truth. He first heard about the mystery from his relative, Howard Somervell, who had been a member of the fateful 1924 expedition. Obsessed by the question since boyhood, he became a mountaineer so that he could climb Everest himself and search for the camera of George Mallory, long believed to be the most reliable piece of evidence that might help to prove or disprove Hoyland's theory that Mallory got to the summit.

The Mallory legend is a romantic one, which helps to explain why it has endured for so long. Mallory was talented, attractive, and had an obsessive relationship with the mountain he both hated and felt compelled to return to again and again. The notion that he may have reached the summit almost thirty years before the first recorded ascent, in 1953 — and with drastically more primitive equipment — is a romantic legend, and it's one that I have wanted to believe for a long time. Everyone seems to have a theory but the truth remains obscure.

Where Last Hours on Everest differs from all the other books on the subject is the fact that the author is a genuine expert on the subject.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Anyone who is interested in the Mallory and Irvine mystery should read this book. It's interesting and often well-written, interweaving Hoyland's personal quest and family history into what is, overall, a pretty compelling narrative. I found the almost inevitable points scoring, grudge settling and obvious infighting amongst Everest historians and researchers to be tedious and I was going to give the book just three stars for that reason, but his highly realistic conclusions on what likely happened to Mallory and Irvine brought it up to four stars.

As a read, good but not great. As a proposition about what happened on the mountain that day, impressive and honest.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate answer to the Mallory question 19 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
There are plenty of books around about whether Mallory and Irvine climbed Everest before Hillary did, but this book goes into unprecedented detail with stacks of evidence to truly answer the question of who summited first. Combined with the author's own vast experience of the mountain, it makes for a gripping and engaging read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mystery solved? 24 Aug 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Well, as near as dammit - at least for me. A mix of unflinching reflection, unfinished family business (Hoyland is Howard Somerwell's nephew), this is a great mix of Everest history and considered analysis, seen through the lens of someone who has spent 20+ yeaars expeditioning including many trips to Everest. Highly recommended!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars compelling
A great read for all mountaineers with an interest in the history of this addictive and obsessive pastime.
When men were men. That's all I can say. Read more
Published 3 days ago by justin Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating personal story
Graham Hoyland's book about Everest was a revelation for me. I thought I knew everything about the events surrounding the disappearance of Mallory and Irvine, but Graham's account... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Tony Smythe
2.0 out of 5 stars A Bitter Pill for the Author?
I wrote a previous 2-star review of Hoyland's book but he must have felt it was too negative and he got to take it down. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Thomas M. Holzel
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
This book was a massive disappointment to me. It probably deserves 3 stars on it's merits but I was expecting so much more. Read more
Published 7 months ago by sexecute
3.0 out of 5 stars Takes quite a long time to get to the good bits
It takes quite a long time to get to the good bits, but overall itt's good read and very informative.
Published 9 months ago by Tito Sacchi
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting theory
Given the facts I can understand why Graham came to his conclusion, YES/NO. Other may come to different answers, given all the facts.
Published 9 months ago by Jigsaw
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining read - but VERY questionable claims
Last Hours on Everest is a very mixed bag. The book starts out well, with Hoyland taking the reader briskly and entertainingly though the background of the story. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Bücherberg
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