12th Sir Edmund Hillary Memorial Event
Saturday 8 June 2024

Mallory and Irvine mystery 100 years on

Join Dr Wade Davis, Leo Houlding, Julie Summers and Graham Hoyland to discuss Mallory and Irvine’s much debated attempt to summit Everest on 8 June 1924

Tickets £35
Doors & bar open at 1.30 pm, main event  3.00 – 6.30 pm (including interval)

Exclusive viewing of “Everest Revisited 1924-2024”, produced by The Alpine Club, from 1.45 – 2.30 pm and access to Everest24 Exhibition in the Pavilion as optional (free) extra’s 

Royal Geographical Society,
1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR

Limited tickets available at the door

As this is a charity event, tickets are non-refundable.

Photo credit @ RGS/IBG

We are delighted to once again host our annual Sir Edmund Hillary Memorial event at the Royal Geographical Society. 

This year marks the centenary of one of the most celebrated mysteries in the history of mountaineering:  could George Mallory and Andrew ‘Sandy’ Irvine have made it to the summit of Everest on 8 June 1924? Last seen by geologist Noel Odell high on the north east ridge and “still going strong for the summit” they were then enveloped in cloud and never seen again. Mallory’s body was found in 1999 but there were no clues that helped resolve this lasting mystery.

The exact anniversary, 8 June, falls on a Saturday which has allowed us to expand the programme and involve several speakers. We are thrilled to have secured our keynote speaker, the acclaimed anthropologist and writer Dr Wade Davis. Wade is preceded by celebrated expedition experts and family members – Leo Houlding,  Julie Summers and Graham Hoyland – before they join him on stage for a debate at the end.

Prior to the main event, we are fortunate to be able to host the UK premiere of “Everest Revisited 1924 – 2024”, produced by The Alpine Club. The RGS is also kindly opening its Everest24 Exhibition in the Pavilion prior to the main event. Please take advantage of these additional offerings by arriving early.

Our speakers

Dr Wade Davis – Canadian anthropologist and author of “Into the Silence, the Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest” – the definitive account of the British adventurers who survived the trenches of World War I and went on to risk their lives to climb Mount Everest.

Leo Houlding – one of the topmost and daring climbers in the world today, tackling and leading first ascents on the most technical, biggest and most remote walls on every continent across the world. He played the part of Irvine in the film “Wildest Dream”, the IMAX movie about the ill-fated 1924 Everest Expedition.

Julie Summers – writer and historian. Julie is the great niece of Sandy Irvine and author of his biography “Fearless on Everest”.

Graham Hoyland – author, mountaineer and sailor, Graham is a relative of the polymath Howard Somervell – surgeon, watercolourist and composer on the 1924 expedition. Graham instigated the 1999 Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition which found George Mallory’s body.


Join us for an inspiring afternoon with family members and experts of this famous expedition

The Sir Edmund Hillary Memorial Lecture Series Background

Sir Edmund Hillary – or ‘Ed’ as he was universally known – passed away on 11 January 2008, at home in Auckland, aged 88. A huge wave of emotion swept over the people of New Zealand. Led by their Prime Minister, Helen Clark, they mourned their great Kiwi, lying in state in Holy Trinity Cathedral, with his Everest ice axe and Maori ceremonial staff atop the casket.

Here in the UK, people also paid tribute. Sir Edmund was a Knight of the Garter, the highest order of chivalry granted by Her Majesty the Queen. On a knight’s death, his personal banner is ceremonially laid down on the High Altar of St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. This was done at an extraordinarily moving ceremony on 2 April 2008, attended by the Queen and other members of the Royal Family.

The following day The Himalayan Trust UK organised a special tribute at the Royal Geographical Society in London. Sir Ed’s son, Peter Hillary, spoke on ‘Growing up with Ed’. Tenzing Norgay’s son, Jamling Norgay, spoke on behalf of the Sherpa community. And there was a showing of Michael Dillon’s prize-winning film Beyond Everest, about Sir Edmund’s philanthropic work with the Sherpas. The auditorium was packed to the rafters and overflowing.

So moved were the loyal supporters and Trustees of The Himalayan Trust UK, that a decision was made to launch a series of Sir Edmund Hillary Memorial Lectures that would take place annually on the day of his ascent of Everest, 29 May, or as close to this day as possible, at the Royal Geographical Society. Today, this continues to be an opportunity to gather with our friends and supporters, and raise funds for the children and grandchildren of the people who made the whole great Everest adventure possible, the tough, courageous mountain people of Nepal.

Previous speakers have included Alan Hinkes OBE, Stephen Venables, Dr Mike Gill, Jan Morris, Leo Houlding, Prof David Vaughan, Dr Hugh Lewis-Jones, Doug Scott CBE, Sir Chris Bonington,  Peter Hillary, Jamling Tenzing, Kenton Cool, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Ben Fogle and Hari Budha Magar.

Attend the Event

Join friends of the Himalayan Trust UK to mark the 100th anniversary of one of the most celebrated mysteries in the history of mountaineering at the annual Sir Edmund Hillary Memorial event – the twelfth in the series – whilst supporting the work of the Trust.