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  • Writer's pictureStephen Shields

The Inspiration for Peak XV’s Story.

Updated: Apr 17, 2021

Stephen Shields Peak XV is not another rehashed story about a climbing team's adventures set out on a quest to climb the tallest mountain on the planet and overcome adversities. The story's loosely based on George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, two English mountaineer explorers that lived in the early 20th century. Mallory had an obsession with becoming the first to summit Mount Everest. After two failed attempts, a third expedition was planned and funded in 1924.

Photo: Taken circa 1924, this image shows George Mallory and his British Expedition team at their first base camp, prior to Mallory beginning his fateful third attempt to climb and summit Mount Everest.

He and his second, Andrew Irvine, were last spotted only 800 feet from the summit when an unexpected severe weather system consumed the top third of the mountain, and they vanished from sight, never to return from the mountain. As mentioned, Peak XV is loosely based on these two legendary men and the controversy that to this day surrounds their final assault to summit Everest. Were they the first to find their way to the top, or were New Zealander mountaineer and explorer Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay the first climbers confirmed to have reached the summit of Mount Everest?

Peak XV explores this controversy but weaves together broader fictitious perspectives. Peak XV involves three different points in world history, beginning in 661 BC in ancient Nepal, on the day Siddhartha, known today as The Buddha, the early 1920's, post-World War One England, and the early 1950's Nepal and London England. The characters unknowingly interconnected each of these eras in the story by the common paths traveled and their actions that formed a connection that influenced the resurrection of a 2,500-year-old ancient Nepali death curse. Peak XV is a diverse story about the past's relationships changing the present, the differences and beliefs between western and eastern cultures, ancient spiritualism, mysticism, and folklore.

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