Set 9, posted May 25, 1999
NOVA's goal is to further public understanding of the nature of science and exploration in a responsible and tasteful way. NOVA was not involved in selling the photos of George Leigh Mallory's body, and in the future we will continue to restrict the use of our photos to our Web site, our TV programs, and certain quality publications that are consistent with the PBS mission.
This statement is offered on behalf of many of the Mallory
family. Along with many mountaineers and historians, we like to think Mallory and
Irvine may have reached the summit, although this is of little, if any, consequence
and has no bearing at all on our admiration for their adventurous spirit.
Naturally, we would be interested to learn more of what might have happened to Mallory
and Irvine shortly before their deaths. But we believe any new information relating
to their last few hours should not affect the symbolism of their climb. This was seen
as the striving of the human spirit against the seemingly impossible.
We accepted in good faith that the climbers would deal respectfully with any
remains and possessions they found. We understand that all the climbers hold the
achievement of Mallory, Irvine and their colleagues in the highest esteem.
At this stage not all relevant facts have emerged and we have not as yet spoken
directly with the climbers who found the body. We are grateful for the burial
service that we understand the climbers performed and for the generally respectful
way in which they treated George Mallory's remains at his grave. The BBC informs us
that any personal possessions will be returned to Mallory's children.
The Expedition has sold photographs of Mallory's body to the media and these
photos have been published in many newspapers. Because we trusted that The Expedition
and its associates would deal sensitively with the issues, we made no prior arrangements with them. We are extremely disappointed with the sale of the photos because:
The Mallory family and the relatives of Irvine have no interest in benefiting financially from the sale of photos of bodies.
- Clare Millikan was offered an inadequate explanation of The Expedition's arrangements with the media;
- The Expedition did not speak with John Mallory regarding the sale of the photos;
- We feel these actions constitute a breach of good faith;
- We regard any benefit received through the sale of photos of Mallory's body to be exploitation of a private matter;
- We are particularly concerned that The Expedition, or any other expedition, does not behave with similar insensitivity to the family of Andrew Irvine, should his body ever be found.
We accept that people make mistakes. We are hopeful that, as details emerge, opportunities to rectify the distasteful way in which the photos were sold will present themselves.
George Mallory II
George Mallory II and Chhering Sherpa on top of the Third Step of Mount Everest.
My son Jeffrey S. Hall (no relation to Rob Hall who perished on
the south face with a client) was invited to join the 1995 expedition as a team
member. George Mallory's grandson, George Mallory II of Australia, was also invited and
joined the expedition. The expedition leader was Dr. Paul Pfau of Los Angeles. The
object was to follow the North col route pioneered by Mallory and Irvine.
George Mallory II and Jeffrey Hall were chosen as the first team to attempt the
summit. On May 14, 1995, George Mallory II summited at 5:30 am Sunday morning,
71 years after the disappearance of his grandfather, and his partner Jeff Hall
from Aspen/Snowmass, Colorado followed at 5:50 am. They cut a hole and George
buried a picture of his grandfather at the summit of Everest. A very moving moment
for them both.
Nine days before the Mallory-Hall summit, on May 5, 1995, a formal Commemorative
Ceremony was held in honor of George Mallory and Andrew Irvine at about 17,000
feet. In attendance was 74-year-old John
Mallory, son of the legendary George Mallory and father of George Mallory II.
It was an emotional ceremony with installation of a "Welsh slate plaque" provided
by Everester David Breashears. News and reports on the 1995 Mt. Everest American
Expedition (North Face) was transmitted via ON Technology Corp. from their
communications base camp on Mt. Everest at 17,000 feet.
Jeffrey Hall at Camp 6, returning from the summit.
Photos courtesy Jeffrey Hall
I don't know if you're aware or not, but
there's a great song that was written about the Mallory expedition. It was
written by Bill Mallonee and is the title track on the Vigilantes of Love
cd, "To The Roof Of The Sky. "
(name witheld by request)
Response from NOVA:
Bill Mallonee, of the Athens, Georgia band
Vigilantes of Love, read George Mallory's story to his young son from an old book of
adventure stories. He wrote 'To the Roof of the Sky' as a tribute to Mallory.
Listen to a RealAudio excerpt from that work:
Get free RealPlayer software
Excerpt courtesy of Joe Kirk
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