AN EXHIBITION based on the tragic mystery of two ‘Boys Own’ adventurers who died together on the slopes of the world’s highest mountain is in line for a top award.
Sandy Irvine and fellow climber George Mallory, both from Cheshire, were last sighted on June 8, 1924, on the north east ridge of Everest, just a few hundred yards from the summit.
Since that fateful day arguments have raged over whether the intrepid duo died beforeŠreaching their goal or descending from the summit - 30 years before Everest was conquered by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.
The story fascinated Cheshire’s Salt Museum curator Matt Wheeler, who spent over two years researching the life and times of the Cheshire-born Corinthians and compiling a fascinating exhibition which broke all attendance records at the Northwich museum.
Now Above the Clouds - Mallory and Irvine and the Quest for Everest – which attractedŠvisitors from across the country- has been short-listed for a 2010 Museums and Heritage Award for Excellence.
Matt said: “I have always been interested in explorers and when I first heard about Irvine and Mallory I couldn’t resist trying to find out more, particularly because ofŠtheir Cheshire links.”
Irvine’s remains may well have been found by a Chinese expedition in 1975. TheyŠcame across ‘an English dead’ at 26,740 feet. And in May 1999, George Mallory’s body was discovered at 26,800 feet frozen into the ice–gravel scree on Everest’s North Face and in a remarkable state of preservation.
Some of his possessions, including a broken pocket watch, letters and some lint ointment, were featured at Northwich and Birkenhead’s Williamson Art Gallery, when the exhibition moved there.
Winners of the Museums and Heritage Awards will be announced at an awards ceremony on May 12 at Church House in Westminster.