||Irvine, Andrew Comyn (1902-1924) known as Sandy|
||Like Mallory, Andrew 'Sandy' Irvine came from a solidly respectable middle-class family in Cheshire, but in many ways that was where the similarities ended. Unlike the absent-minded, intellectually inclined Mallory, Irvine (seventeen years his junior) was an athletically enthusiastic all round performer, with a practical aptitude for solving mechanical problems. The difference in their mountaineering and life experiences was vast. Mallory was an outstanding rock climber who had survived alpine epics, service in the Great War and had mixed in intellectual literary circles at Magdalene College. Irvine was an Oxford rowing blue who had been on a sledging expedition to Spitsbergen but who possessed little in the way of mountaineering experience. Despite the contrasts, the duo got on well on Everest and has gone down as the most famous mountaineering pairing in the world after Hillary and Tensing. On Everest, Irvine performed strongly despite his relative inexperience, hefting heavy loads about the slopes like a Trojan, fixing just about every piece of equipment that broke and performing miracles of tinkering with the temperamental oxygen equipment. It was these attributes, along with Irvine’s undoubted fitness that probably led Mallory to choose him to accompany him on the final summit attempt, passing over the more obviously qualified Noel Odell. Both men disappeared into the clouds on June 8th 1924, leaving behind the most enigmatic mystery in mountaineering history – did they make the summit or not?
Further reading: Fearless on Everest, Julie Summers, Weidenfield & Nicolson, 2000
||Irvine, Andrew Comyn (1902-1924) known as Sandy
||B049 : Fearless on Everest : the quest for Sandy Irvine