As a boy, climbing legend Reinhold Messner was inspired by another legend: George Mallory’s tragic final ascent of Mount Everest in 1924. To Messner, and to thousands of others, Mallory’s attempt—whether or not it succeeded—remains the greatest exploit in the annals of mountain climbing. Though Mallory’s body was finally found, we have lost, Messner believes, the spirit that guided him; summiting Everest has become merely a corporate challenge and a matter of technology, not a rendezvous with destiny.
Using the British climber’s journals and letters, Messner thrillingly re-creates Mallory’s three assaults on Everest, including his final ascent. Here is both an investigation into the death of George Mallory and a deeply felt homage—to a mountain, to the spirit of an age, and to the man who inspired those who followed in his footsteps.