There is some evidence that the Brits, Mallory and Irvine reached Everest's peak well before the New Zealander did; however, the evidence is not conclusive (yet). George Herbert Leigh Mallory was an English mountaineer who took part in the first three British expeditions to Mount Everest in the early 1920s.
During the 1924 British Mount Everest expedition, Mallory and his climbing partner Andrew "Sandy" Irvine both disappeared on the North-East ridge during their attempt to make the first ascent of the world's highest mountain. The pair were last seen when they were about 800 vertical feet (245m) from the summit.
The goal of the Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition of 1999 was to discover evidence of whether George Mallory and Andrew Irvine had been the first to summit Mount Everest in their attempt long before Hillary, it happened in June 1924. The team hoped in particular to find a camera on Irvine's body which, had the pair been successful, should have contained a picture of the summit. Within hours of commencing the search During May of 1999, Conrad Anker found a body on the North Face, at 8,155 m; but to their surprise it was that of Mallory, not Irvine. Mallory lay face-down, arms outstretched as if to break a sliding fall, with one broken leg and a serious wound to the skull, but otherwise very well-preserved. It seemed probable that he had been a victim of a fall while roped to Irvine. The body was only an hour or two from the safety of their camp.
Many artefacts were found on the body, including a pocket knife, altimeter, and snow-goggles, but no camera. Three discoveries in particular fuel continuing speculation: First, a pair of goggles were in Mallory's pocket, suggesting he was descending at night when he fell (though he may have had a second pair, ripped off in his fall). Second, on an envelope he had noted the amounts of oxygen in each of their cylinders, figures which suggest a slight possibility that the pair may have taken three cylinders on their final climb, rather than two as generally believed. Finally, it was the absence of an item which was perhaps most intriguing; it had been reported that Mallory carried a photograph of his beloved wife Ruth with him which he wanted to leave at the peak.
When Sir Edmund, who died in January 2008, was once asked his view on the controversy, he replied: "I do not know whether Mallory and Irvine reached the summit. "What I do know is that Tenzing Norgay and I were the first to get to the top and back down to the bottom again."