Howard Coffin

Commentator

Howard Coffin is an author and historian whose specialty is the Civil War.

 

  Why climb Mount Everest, George Leigh Mallory was asked? Because it's there, he supposedly replied.

Those haunting words have been with me since my mother read me an account of the British Everest expedition of 1924 that nearly succeeded in climbing, for the first time, the world's highest mountain. On June 8, 1924, Mallory and Andrew Sandy Irvine had been spotted less than 1,000 feet from Everest's 29,000 foot summit. Then clouds rolled in and the two were never again seen alive. Had they reached the top? Nobody, apparently, will ever know for certain.

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