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Customer Discussions > Paths of Glory forum

Paths of Glory - second step impassable - story not the slightest bit plausible


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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 21, 2009 6:17:09 PM PST
crazyf_er says:
Complete fantasy fabrication - deserves no recognition.
It was established YEARS AGO that the second step would have been impassable for two lone climbers. A member of a chinese team made it up because he took off his shoes and socks to climb and subsequently lost those bits. The chinese came back and installed a ladder which, while having been replaced by a modern version, can still be seen there today. This story of Archer's is a complete fabrication of the truth and it was known after the chinese went up there and found it impassable that Mallory never made it. If you want to tell a story based on history then make it something plausible or don't tell it at all.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 16, 2009 1:31:10 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 16, 2009 1:32:04 PM PDT
to clarify: 1)the Chinese 1960 method of climbing the Second Step was an old one in mountaineering - stand on your partner's shoulders. We saw a lot of that in the days of Sir Leslie Stephen. It didn't require much technique but was a serviceable way of getting up.
2) George was famous for scampering up routes that would quell more faint-hearts, both in the Alps and in Wales. In the former case, when the Second Step was described to him, Mallory's old climbing partner, Geoffrey Winthrop Young immediately recalled a similar pitch on the Nesthorn, which George hove himself up in 1909 before GWY could make a belay.
3) Mallory's grandson and namesake climbed Everest in 1995, and when he was up at the Second Step, looked over at the rocks to the right of the crack and knew that that was the way his grandfather probably went up, sit-spot, rather than wadging himself up the crack.
4) Conrad Anker free-climbed the Second Step in 1999 in about five minutes, before his belayer even was ready (see above), accidentally touching the Chinese ladder only because it was in the way. If Anker could do it, Mallory - a fine gymnast and strong, quick climber, certainly could.

Posted on Apr 23, 2009 9:47:22 AM PDT
In a book that was a complete George Mallory love-fest, did you expect any less? I wondered how Archer would deal with the summit issue, but no surprise that in his version it wasn't a huge issue.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 27, 2009 3:46:52 PM PDT
George was a rather complicated person, of some pretty dark moods and some rather well-known inadequacies (referring to his family life here) - not the gooey 'perfect Englishman' JA has tried to portray. And the book is riddled with such anachronisms that I found it unbearable.
Read GLM's letters, his Boswell book, and contributions to the expedition accounts instead.
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Discussion in:  Paths of Glory forum
Participants:  3
Total posts:  4
Initial post:  Feb 21, 2009
Latest post:  Apr 27, 2009

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Paths of Glory
Paths of Glory by Jeffrey Archer (Hardcover - 2009)
4.3 out of 5 stars (264)