British climber George Mallory's fatal 1924 attempt to conquer Everest is the subject of this variable documentary, in which American climber Conrad Anker, who discovered Mallory's frozen body high on Everest's Death Zone in 1999, retraces his predecessor's steps. He tests out replicas of Mallory's equipment and attempts to shed light on one of mountaineering's enduring mysteries: could Mallory and his partner Sandy Irvine have reached the summit decades before Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing's 1953 triumph? This story is interspersed with readings of the letters between Mallory and his beloved wife Ruth, whose picture Mallory carried and which he promised to leave at the summit. The photography is suitably spectacular and there's a starry voice cast (including Ralph Fiennes, Liam Neeson and Natasha Richardson), but the romantic element seems tacked on to an otherwise Boys' Own adventure, and the question of the success or failure of Mallory's attempt is left unanswered. Apart, that is, from one tantalising clue: though most of Mallory's belongings were found with him, one was missing... the photograph of his wife.