To commemorate the occasion, The Alpine Club is hosting a landmark exhibition entitled ‘Everest: By Those Who Were There’ at its premises of 55 Charlotte Road, Shoreditch, EC2A 3QF.
The exhibition uses the words of expedition members from 1921, 1922 and 1924 to explore the mountain as a symbol of adventure, an expression of empire and a site of significant tragedy. As well as diary entries and hand-written notes, visitors can explore the art works and photography produced on the expeditions, as well as the clothing and equipment that was first used to climb the mountain.
Today every detail of Everest, from its precise dimensions to the exact wind speed on its summit, can be accessed at the click of a button. But for the men of these early expeditions, it was an entirely different prospect. In 1921, even its exact location was uncertain and the first expedition undertook a 200-mile trek across Tibet as they, in the words of George Mallory, ‘walked off the map’ in search of it. The achievements of these expeditions, climbing as high as 8,572m in 1924, were accomplished with rudimentary equipment and no concrete understanding of the effects that such extreme altitudes would have on the human body.
Renowned mountaineer, former Alpine Club president and current Head of Exhibitions John Porter said: ‘These men lived in the true age of exploration. Driven by the need to escape the horrors of the Great War and a desire to see Britain first atop the “third pole”, they achieved the remarkable. By using their own records and possessions we hope to give visitors a true sense of the reality of the time and the incredible bravery it took to attempt the summit.’
- ‘Everest: By Those Who Were There’ opens to the public from the 21 June and can be visited on Tuesdays and Wednesday between the hours of 12:00 and 17:30 until October 17, with a closure for the month of August.
- Viewings can be made for other times and days by prior arrangement. (Contact details below).
- Items on display include:
- A photograph taken on Everest by George Mallory in 1922 which was, at the time, the highest photograph ever taken.
- Watercolour paintings of Everest by Howard Somervell.
- Sandy Irvine’s ice axe, lost on Everest during his fateful summit attempt with Mallory in 1924, and rediscovered in 1933.