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Climbing 'Greats' Line up for Everest Commemoration
12 Feb 2024

World famous mountaineers are to descend on Shropshire to commemorate the 1924 Everest Expedition, along with a special exhibition at Shrewsbury School (Feb 26 - 29) where the ill-fated British mountaineer Andrew 'Sandy' Irvine was a pupil.

It was during the doomed Everest expedition in 1924 that British mountaineers Andrew 'Sandy' Irvine and George Mallory disappeared on the North Ridge, some 240 metres from the summit. Mallory's body was discovered in 1999 by a research expedition, but Irvine, who was just 22 at the time and a student at Merton College Oxford, has never been found. 

Now, one hundred years later, a pupil at Irvine's alma mater, Shrewsbury School, has organised a major new exhibition and commemorative event to celebrate the school's connection with the famous adventurer - and many of the world's leading mountaineers are set to attend. You'll have to be quick to sign up HERE to the guided tours of the Sandy Irvine 100th Anniversary Exhibition as the free tickets are going fast! 

Irvine on Everest

Pictured: Irvine on skis (Credit: Alpine Club)

Set to attend the special event at the school on February 29 are: Sir Chris Bonington, Britain’s best known mountaineer who has led 19 Himalayan expeditions including four to Everest ; Alan Hinkes OBE, the first British mountaineer to claim all 14 mountains above 8000m and Leo Houlding, a British rock climber who retraced Irvine and Mallory’s expedition on Everest.

Sandy Irvine’s great niece, the author and historian Julie Summers is set to give a talk, along with Dr Charles Clarke, a neurologist with interest in mountaineering, and Dr Adam Booth, a former Shrewsbury School pupil himself, who has himself summited Everest twice.

The centenary exhibition will run from February 26 – 29 in Shrewsbury School library, showcasing items relating to the 1924 expedition and the life of Sandy Irvine - including, papers, books, items of clothing, equipment, photos and other memorabilia.

The exhibition gives an overview of Irvine's short life, from childhood and family and his Shrewsbury School years, to his sporting prowess as an oarsman, both whilst still at Shrewsbury and in Oxford. The centrepiece is a focus on the 1924 Mount Everest Expedition, which followed two previous attempts to reach the summit in 1921 and 1922. The exhibits give a picture of the rigours of life on the mountain, the climbers, the equipment, clothing, letters home, food and cooking, as well and the magnificent grandeur and scale of the place.

Irvine portrait
Irvine portrait with scarf

A number of poignant artefacts and papers have been loaned by the Alpine Club, Merton College Oxford, Magdalene College Cambridge, the Mountain Heritage Trust and the Royal Geographical Society.  Other items come from Shrewsbury School's own Irvine Archive and there is also a display showcasing the History of Mountaineering and Hillwalking at Shrewsbury School from 1930 to the present.

Sixthformer Archie, who organised the event for his Extended Project Qualification as part of his A Level studies, said: "I first heard the story of George Mallory and Sandy Irvine when I was very young and decided that because the 100th anniversary of their disappearance on Everest was occurring in 2024, that it would be a good topic to choose for my EPQ.

“As well as celebrating a heroic former Shrewsbury School pupil, I wanted the event and exhibition to explore how modern-day Nepalese Sherpas and Guides relate to Mallory and Irvine.”

The Everest 1924 Commemoration will take place in The Alington Hall, Shrewsbury School on Thursday, February 29 at 7pm. The commemorative event is open to the public and is free of charge, but donations to Community Action Nepal and The Shewsy, the school’s youth club in Everton, are greatly appreciated.  

Free tickets must be pre-booked via ticketsource.co.uk/shrewsburyschool

Guided tours of the Sandy Irvine 100th Anniversary Exhibition also take place from February 26 - 29. Places are booking up fast HERE