It’s estimated that roughly 4000 people have made it to the top of Mount Everest in recent years assisted by fixed ropes, professional guides, and bottled oxygen, but people still debate the question of whether or not, in 1924, George Leigh Mallory and Andrew Irvine summited the mountain without any of those aids, before their fatal fall.
The best positive argument goes that when Conrad Anker found Mallory’s body at 26,760 ft (8,157 m) on the north face of the mountain, the photograph of his wife that Mallory had promised to leave on the summit was missing from his effects.
The key negative argument in climbing circles contends that it would have been impossible with the limited equipment and lack of oxygen in the period for anyone to have conquered the Hillary Step, a nearly vertical rock face with a height of around 12 metres (39 ft) located high on Mount Everest at approximately 8,790 metres (28,839 ft), named later for Sir Edmund Hillary, the first known person to reach the summit in 1953.
Outside magazine is reporting that the rumors are true, despite the Government of Nepal’s effort to suppress talk on the subject, the changes produced by the Earthquake of 2015 are dramatic: the Hillary Step is now the Hillary Stair. The ascent will now be easier than ever, though the traditional death toll of of five or six a year will probably remain unchanged.