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Sunday, Oct 11, 2020 14:00 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, Oct 11, 2020 08:35 [IST]


Everest legend Mallory and his Sikkim connection-II

ShitalSrisyog Pradhan
In-terms of Sikkim’s perspective, the first three  Everest Expeditions hold special significance for a person by the name of Gyalzen Kazi, who was a landlord but played an important role during the expeditions. Gyalzen Kazi was the interpreter for the 1921 Everest Expedition as well as on the 1922 and 1924 Expeditions. It is well said that Gyalzen Kazi and Karma Paul, another interpreter from Darjeeling, had a significant role at the Everest Expeditions. Gyalzen Kazi was known more for his role as interpreter but to my findings he was the first mountain explorer of Sikkim.

(A page from AritarDak Bungalow Visitor Book)

Another interesting finding that came to me was the page of the AritarDak Bungalow Visitor Book that has the name of five mountaineers of the 1922 Mt Everest Expedition. Charles G. Bruce, Edward "Teddy" F. Norton, Dr Arthur Wakefield, C. John Morris and C. Geoffrey Bruce had signed at the visitor book during their stay at the Dak Bungalow on July 29 and 30, 1922. Though I felt a little sad not to find Mallory’s name on the book nevertheless those five names were enough to rub my excited heart. Charles G. Bruce was the Expedition leader with a Brigadier rank while Morris and Geoffrey Bruce were responsible for translation and organizational tasks. Norton and Wakefield were mountaineers with medical backgrounds.

Apart from these people there were eight other expedition members in the 1922 ascent to Mt Everest. Though it had been mentioned in different accounts that the first three Mt Everest Expedition teams (1921, 1922 and 1924) did stay at AritarDak Bungalow but I have not come across the 1921 and 1924 records on the Visitor Book.

Coming back to Mallory, ever since his dead body with his face down on the snow had been recovered the assumptions of whether the two missing mountaineers reached their ultimate goal had been running high. Although it was Hillary and Tenzing who took the crown of being the first mountaineers to successfully return back after reaching the summit after 30 years of Mallory’s sudden disappearance.  

Everest has deep secrets under its calm silence and in between there are stories that keep on popping whether they reached the top.  Mallory had a photograph of his wife and he had promised to her that he would click the photograph of himself with his wife’s photograph at the summit. When the search team found the body they failed to recover the photograph from the pocket of his cloth. Some believe the photograph might have been left at the summit.  The camera which the duo had been carrying is still to be recovered and no one knows if it is found in near future we might witness the lost moment of human heroics.

If speculations are to be believed, the presence of snow goggles found on Mallory’s pant pockets throw a different perspective of the event. It could be that they were returning after achieving the summit after sunset when the snow goggles are not needed. Irvine’s snow axe had also been recovered. These theories related to George Mallory had made him a legend and we are still awaiting more findings that could end the speculations to its final nail. Irrespective of all these, the efforts of George Mallory needs to be appreciated. It was his fantasy and ‘only him’ that made the thought of reaching the summit of Mt Everest fascinating and appealing to all.


Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi