Peak per­for­mance

Pasatiempo - - Moving Images - Rob DeWalt The New Mex­i­can

IThe Wildest Dream: Con­quest of Ever­est, doc­u­men­tary, rated PG, The Screen, 3 chiles On June 8, 1924, Bri­tish moun­taineer Ge­orge Her­bert Leigh Mal­lory and climb­ing part­ner An­drew “Sandy” Comyn Irvine dis­ap­peared from the sight of their ex­pe­di­tion party while head­ing into a clus­ter of clouds about a thou­sand feet from the sum­mit of Mount Ever­est. For more than seven decades, Mal­lory’s fate re­mained a mys­tery. On May 2, 1999, Eric Si­mon­son, or­ga­nizer of the Mal­lory and Irvine Re­search Ex­pe­di­tion, an­nounced that a por­tion of that mys­tery had been solved.

While con­duct­ing a sur­vey on the up­per­most por­tion of Mount Ever­est’s North­east Ridge climb­ing route, Amer­i­can moun­taineer Con­rad Anker dis­cov­ered a hu­man body. There, half-buried in swaths of loose moun­tain shale, with alabaster skin peek­ing out from rem­nants of crude climb­ing gear and tat­tered gabar­dine cloth­ing, lay the frozen re­mains of Mal­lory.

Bri­tish pro­ducer/di­rec­tor An­thony Gef­fen’s 2009 film The Wildest Dream: Con­quest of Ever­est, doc­u­ments Anker’s 2007 re­turn to Mount Ever­est — with a climb­ing part­ner and sev­eral tons of IMAX and other film equip­ment — to shed some light on one of the most en­dur­ing un­knowns in moun­taineer­ing his­tory: Was Mal­lory the first climber to suc­cess­fully reach the top of Mount Ever­est, nearly three decades be­fore the of­fi­cially recorded de­but sum­mit by Ed­mund Hil­lary and Ten­z­ing Nor­gay?

Us­ing archival film footage (re­stored from the orig­i­nal ni­trate), pho­to­graphs, doc­u­ments, winc­ingly un­re­al­is­tic reen­act­ments, and in­ter­views with Mal­lory’s grand­daugh­ter and oth­ers, Gef­fen ex­plores Mal­lory’s early life and paints a com­pelling por­trait of a well-ed­u­cated man who strug­gled to strike a bal­ance be­tween sat­is­fy­ing his lust for ad­ven­ture and at­tend­ing to his wife, Ruth, and their three chil­dren.

A Cam­bridge grad­u­ate, teacher, and avid climber since child­hood, Mal­lory served with the Royal Gar­ri­son Ar­tillery dur­ing

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