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Fearless on Everest
The Quest for Sandy Irvine

The names of George Leigh Mallory and Sandy Irvine have been inextricably linked for over eighty years, yet Irvine’s is a story that has only recently been told. He was just twenty-two when he died on the upper slopes of Mount Everest but he had lived life to the full. He was a compassionate, expressive and creative young man, talented in the field of engineering. His brilliance in redesigning the capricious oxygen apparatus for the 1924 Everest expedition and maintaining the expedition’s cameras, camp beds, primus stoves and such like was well recognised, but it was only one example in a long line of creative solutions to engineering problems. In 1917, at the age of 15, he submitted a design to the War Office for an interrupter gear which would allow a machine to fire from a propeller plane without damaging the blades as well as a design for a hydroscopic stabiliser.

An outstanding oarsman, he rowed in the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race in 1922 and 1923. He was also a wild boy with a streak of fearlessness that exasperated his parents and delighted his friends. He had a passionate love affair with his best friend’s step mother, made the first crossing of the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen in 1923 and perhaps, just perhaps climbed to the top of the world 29 years before Sir Edmund Hillary.

Sandy rowing stroke at Oxford in summer 1923
Sandy Irvine took this photograph of Mount Everest from Pang La on 28th April 1924 and sent it back to his sister explaining it was his first view of the mountain.

“Rich in detail, anecdote, and sympathetically imaginative reconstruction … drawing not only on the author’s wide and serious research, but also in her life-time knowledge of her family, for which there can be no substitute.”
Jonathan Dore,
Times Literary Supplement
“… so lucid, sensible and quietly evocative I can scarcely bear to put it down.”
Jim Perrin
“Julie Summers delivers a well researched and highly readable book. Although she obviously can't supply the answer to the ultimate mystery, she does deliver insights into the character of Sandy Irvine and other expedition members that you won't find anywhere else. Fearless on Everest presents a new level of detail about the ‘24 expedition’ and its participants that is captivating. If you are an Everest aficionado it is a must-have, and even if you’re not it makes a great read.”
Rock and Ice
“Child monarchs get into the history books; successful Olympic competitors hit the headlines but are quickly forgotten. Sandy must be the youngest person ever to achieve by his own efforts a truly enduring fame. In the long history of human endeavour there are hardly any enigmas more intriguing than what Sandy and Mallory did when they vanished upwards so close to the loftiest spot on earth. Perhaps we shall one day have proof that they did stand on the summit 29 years before anybody else.”
Peter Lunn, 19th November 2000
As a young boy, Peter Lunn skied with Sandy Irvine in Switzerland in 1923
To order this book, email your request to Julie at info@juliesummers.co.uk.
 
 

Published 2000 (U.K.), Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Published 2001 (U.S.), Mountaineers Books

Republished 2008, RippingYarns.com

ISBN 978-1904466314