Maurice Wilson (April 21st, 1898 – c. May 31st, 1934) was a British soldier, amateur mountaineer, and aviator who is known for dying on his attempt at climbing Mount Everest. Although he had little experience flying planes, he succeeded in flying from Britain to India, then venturing to Tibet to try his luck at climbing Mount Everest. He, unfortunately, died in his attempt and his body was found preserved by the ice, snow, and cold temperatures of the mountain the following year.
Wilson was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England, and enlisted himself in the British army at the age of eighteen to fight in the First World War. Upon returning from the war in 1919, Wilson traveled to London, the US, and New Zealand looking for work and carrying a number of jobs that would later fund his adventure to India and Tibet. In this time, he became quite physically and mentally ill, but Wilson's treatment for his ailments and his faith in Christianity and Eastern mysticism created a new found belief that prayer and fasting could get him to the summit of Mount Everest. Wilson later bought a small plane and earned his flying license which allowed him to successfully fly from Britain to India. He failed to get permission to enter Tibet on foot, but with the help of 3 sherpas, he and his new friends disguised themselves as monks and entered Tibet. They reached the Rongbuk Monastery on April 14th, 1934 and stayed there for two days before venturing off to Everest alone. Wilson returned to the monastery once due to extreme weakness before setting out for his last attempt as he did not want to return to Britain unsuccessful and humiliated. On May 29th, 1934, he set out for the last time. His last diary entry on May 31st, 1934 simply reads "Off again, gorgeous day." After Wilson did not return, news of his death had spread.
In 1935, Eric Shipton led a small expedition to Mount Everest where they found Wilson's body lying on its side in the snow. Wilson's diary was also discovered, which revealed how much Wilson lacked experience in climbing. Wilson's body was buried in a nearby crevasse, and it was determined that he died due to starvation or exhaustion. Wilson's body was preserved by the elements of Everest. Like the other bodies found on the mountain, the cold wind and snow created natural mummification of the bodies.
“Maurice Wilson.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 8 Oct. 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_Wilson.