The 2017 Mountain Festival keynote speaker at the University of Alberta was Wade Davis, an anthropologist and Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society. His gripping lecture featured archival photographs and a discussion of George Mallory's attempt to summit Everest.
Davis shared stories gathered during his ten years of researching and writing about the history and adventure of Mallory's climb. The quest for Everest began as a grand imperial gesture to redeem "an empire of explorers that had lost the race to the Poles," and ended as a country's means of regeneration from war. The twenty-six British climbers involved in three expeditions had all been involved in the war, with six of them severely wounded, two almost killed, and one hospitalized twice from shell shock. He argues that Mallory kept walking while others retreated from the mountain because death was but "a frail barrier that men crossed, smiling and gallant, every day."
This presentation was part of a series of events put on by the Canadian Mountain Network as part of the 2017 Mountain Festival at the University of Alberta. The Canadian Mountain Network (CMN) is a voluntary alliance of partners from universities, governments, Indigenous communities, and businesses dedicated to the sustainability of mountain environments and communities across the country and around the world.
Stay tuned to this blog at internationalmountainday.ca/2017blog and check out a comprehensive list of associated events at the U of A and across Canada at internationalmountainday.ca/events.