"The Fight for Everest: 1924" by E F Norton (pub. June 1925)(p. 130) N E Odell:
"I saw the whole summit ridge and final peak of Everest unveiled. I noticed far away on a snow slope leading up to what seemed to me to be the last step but one from the base of the final pyramid, a tiny object moving and approaching the rock step. A second object followed, and then the first climbed to the top of the step. As I stood intently watching this dramatic appearance, the scene became enveloped in cloud once more, and I could not actually be certain that I saw the second figure join the first.
"Owing to the small portion of the summit ridge uncovered I could not be precisely certain at which of these two 'steps' they were, as in profile and from below they are very similar, but at the time I took it for the upper 'second step'. However I am a little doubtful now whether the latter would not be hidden by the projecting nearer ground from my position below on the face."
Later on, Odell said he saw the first of the two figures actually surmount the step within the five minutes of his last glimpse of them.
Mallory was a forgetful person. Even if he had Ruth's photograph, can one say he had it with him on all three Everest expeditions? He had a bad memory and wrote lists of things he needed to carry. One of his lists was found. Did he forget to carry it? His torch was found at Camp VI proving he had forgotten to carry it and meant he and Irvine might have to return to camp in pitch darkness. It also indicated they began their climb after daybreak which is extremely late. He forgot his compass, and thus was unable to check their direction of movement after they were engulfed in the cloud that hid them from view. He lost the Unna Cooker, and so had no means of melting snow, resulting in them being dangerously dehydrated.
- Mallory went on three Everest expeditions. Did he take Ruth's photograph on all three?
- Ruth never said publicly that he carried her photograph on Everest expeditions.
- Frances would have to have been told about it by Ruth, no later than 1941.
- The first we heard of the photograph was in 1999, when Frances, aged 84, told us.
- Did Frances invent the story. Was it her emotional response to glorify her father's fate?
- For Mallory to carry his wife's photograph, is an emotional, yet understandable, thing to do.
- But why didn't he, also, carry photographs of his three children to leave on the summit?
- Something's not right here. Because of nothing about the children raises doubts, suggesting Frances's story is a fiction.