Since the 1924 British Mount Everest Expedition, the type of travel, climbing equipment, climbing clothing and costs have changed considerably. In 1924 George Mallory and his team mates used the latest type of equipment and clothing that was available to them at the time.
Today, we must wonder how on earth they managed to do what they did on the highest mountain in the world Mount Everest, with the equipment that they had and used by today’s standards.
Below I have tried my best to give an accurate account and have listed the differences between some of the clothing and equipment that was used on the 1924 expedition and what is used today on a 2007 expedition.
1924: Cost of overall Expedition: £3,000 to £4,000 for team of 12
2007: Cost of overall Expedition: £150,000 for team of 12
1924: North Side of Mount Everest
Boat from England UK to Bombay, Train from Bombay to Delhi, Train from Delhi to Calcutta, Train from Calcutta to Darjeeling, Trek/Horseback/Donkey from Darjeeling – Sikkim – Phari – Khamba Dzong – Shekar Dzong – Rongbuk Monastery to Mount Everest Base Camp.
This journey took approximately 4 to 6 weeks but it includes overnight stops for acclimatisation purposes
2007: North Side of Mount Everest
Fly from England UK to Kathmandu, Fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa, Drive (Jeep) from Lhasa to Shigatse Drive from Shigatse to Shegar, Drive from Shegar to Tingri, Drive from Tingri to Mount Everest Base Camp.
This journey takes approximately 10 days but it includes overnight stops for acclimatisation purposes
1924: South Side of Mount Everest
The South Side of Mount Everest was closed to all in 1924
2007: South Side of Mount Everest
Fly from England UK to Kathmandu, Fly from Kathmandu to Lukla, Trek (By Foot) From Lukla – Namche Bazaar – Deboche – Dingboche – Lobuje – Gorak Shep to Mount Everest Base Camp.
This journey takes approximately 15 days but it includes overnight stops for acclimatisation purposes
Base Layer: Cotton or Silk Underwear, Wool Long Johns and 3 pairs of Wool Socks
Inner Layer: Woven Silk Shirt, Wool Flannel Shirt, Shetland Knitted Pullover and Wool Leggings
Outer Layer: Cotton Burberry Jacket, Windproof Smock and Trousers
Gloves: Inner Gloves Silk, Outer Gloves Wool or Sheepskin
Headwear: Fur Lined Flying Helmet
Eye Protection: Glass Goggles
Boots: Leather Hobnail and Putties
Crampons: None. The nails on the soles of the boots to served as crampons
The Base Layer would not of been made of a breathable fibre so it would hold in any moisture present. The Inner and Outer Layers would retain any warm air trapped close to the skin keeping them warm. The amount of layers worn would also offer great protection from the wind. Later tests on this clothing have shown it was well designed, comfortable and up to the job it was used for.
Base Layer: Synthetic Underwear, Fleece Tights and 3 pairs of Thermal Wool Socks
Inner Layer: T-Shirt, Fleece Jacket and Sweater
Outer Layer: Goose Filled Down Jacket with Trousers or All In One Suit
Gloves: Goose Filled Down
Headwear: Wind Proof Fleece Hat fitted into Jacket or All In One Suit
Eye Protection: Glacier glasses with Side Covers and nose guard
Boots: Plastic Outer Shell, Rubber Soles and Synthetic Insulation with built-in over Gaiter
Crampons: 12-point full step-in
Today’s high altitude clothing is designed and tested to withstand extreme cold and wind.
Tent: A-Frame Cotton
Sleeping Bag: Eiderdown Filled
Ice Axe: Wooden Handle with Steel Head
Oxygen: 3 Cylinders and Apparatus – 28LBS in weight or 20LBS for 2 Cylinders
Tent: Breathable Nylon and Polyester Dome shape
Sleeping Bag: Goose Filled Down
Ice Axe: Aluminium Handle with Steel Head
Oxygen: 1 Cylinder and Apparatus – 7.7LBS in weight
Food and Drink
Base Camp: Fresh local foods – Meat, Rice, Eggs, Vegetables, Fruit, Potatoes and Rice.
Drinks: Tea and Coco
Higher Camps: Bully Beef, Tongue, Ham, Sardines, Pemmican, Mixed Biscuits, Variety of Jam, Cheese, Tin Spaghetti, Macaroni, Dried Fruits, Chocolate, Kendal Mint Cake, Butterscotch and Peppermint Sweets.
Drinks: Tea and Coco
Base Camp: Fresh local foods – Meat, Rice, Eggs, Vegetables, Fruit, Potatoes and Rice. Lentils, Pasta, Bread
Drinks: Tea, Coffee, Beer, High Protein Drinks
Higher Camps: Oatmeal, Nuts, Cookies, Soups, Instant Mash, Noodles, Energy Bars, Pop Tarts, Boil Bags (A meal in bag to boil)
Drinks: Tea, Coffee, Hot Chocolate, High Protein Drinks
Diary, Kodak Vest Pocket ‘B’ Camera and Sherpa Mail Runner
Satellite Phone, Digital Camera and a Laptop Computer