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Issue 509, 4 July 2005
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Mallory’s Burberry suitable for Everest

Dave Brook with the historial clothingUniversity researchers have been given rare access to George Mallory’s clothing found on Everest to test whether the explorer was indeed poorly prepared for his doomed expedition. Their findings suggest the man who went up the world’s highest mountain in 1924 ‘because it’s there’ may have been seriously underestimated.

Modern techniques developed at Leeds can now reveal how suitable the clothing was for Everest’s harsh conditions. Mallory’s Burberry suit - which still has the clothing bill in the pocket - and other fabric were tested.

We may never know whether or not George Mallory and partner Andrew Irvine reached the summit - it has been argued that Mallory was carrying a photograph of his wife to leave at the top which is absent from the suit, indicating he may have been successful. But the performance clothing research group’s (PCRG) preliminary findings suggest that Mallory was at least well-prepared for the climb: “He’s reportedly been described as an Edwardian fool but from what we’ve seen so far this isn’t true,” said Dave Brook from the PCRG, who help create today’s highest quality survival and performance clothing. “He appears to have been wearing the best possible kit available to him.”

Dave Brook worked with Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Dr Mike Stroud on their expedition gear for their Antarctic crossing, and was able to apply valuable data they provided - how cold Sir Ranulph had been in different clothing, for example - to his research on Mallory.

The research is part of a two-year project to create replicas of George Mallory’s climbing gear, also involving Lancaster, Derby and Southampton universities. The resulting Mallory replicas are to be unveiled at the Clothing for Extremes conference in Penrith, Cumbria on September 28.

Photo: Dave Brook with the historical clothing

 

 
Page owner: pressoffice@leeds.ac.uk | Updated: 26/09/05

 

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