The Wildest Dream

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 June, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 June, 2009, 12:00am

The Wildest Dream
by Mark Mackenzie
John Murray HK$163

However well you know the story of mountaineers George Mallory and Sandy Irvine, the prologue to The Wildest Dream will have you reading on. In it Mark Mackenzie describes how one minute the pair were churning through heavy snow, the next they were falling. Seventy five years after the men disappeared in 1924, Conrad Anker discovered Mallory's body on the slopes of Mount Everest. Whether the men had met their end after reaching the summit became one of mountaineering's greatest mysteries and one the American sought to solve. The men had last been seen alive on the Second Step, the most challenging part of the expedition before reaching the top. In 2007 Anker and his climbing mate Leo Houlding returned to the mountain to determine whether the men could have reached their destination with the equipment they had. They reenacted the ascent clothed in the type of apparel Mallory would have worn. Their efforts were documented, as one caption puts it, as 'the highest costume drama filming ever undertaken'. The book suffers from repetition but readers should still find it riveting.