So you can better understand, the results and the expedition, let's tell the
story of this year's expedition from the beginning, in a brief fashion.....
Update 7/27/2004: How it all started and
Back in 2002
and 2003 climbers kept talking to us about bodies they had seen over the
years on Everest. After compiling these locations, we came down to three locations that
seemed very interesting, two at which climbers have claimed to seen old
dead bodies on Everest and the third location was interesting because of other
clues. In the first case, it was hard not to conclude that one of our sources saw Sandy Irvine. In the other case a climber saw
"something." Therefore, in Spring of 2003, we asked some expeditions/climbers if
they would be interested in having a "look" at these locations. Surprisingly,
there was little real interest. We noticed that some people just did not
wish to get involved in this controversial undertaking. Now in 2004, we understand that
better than ever...
During 2003, we
finally decided that having the other expeditions do the job wasn’t going to
work; we decided to do the job ourselves. We consulted with numerous Everest
summiteers about our plans, many of whom gave us excellent advice, and
suggestions--but the plan we made was our own. We made the Chinese aware of
our plans. The Chinese were very nice and encouraging.
Our Approach, "Do a job,
keep focused on the task."
We asked Graham
Hoyland and Tom Holzel to be advisors to the expedition. They both eagerly
agreed. Tom, of course, had a wealth of historical knowledge on Mallory and
Irvine and is the king of the contentious view that the two failed to reach
the summit, which would help us to prepare for the worst. Graham, a producer
and employee of the BBC, would travel to base camp and provide a backup to
stay at base camp and would also add historical knowledge. Graham has hunted
for Sandy more times
than we can count.
Tom Holzel: " Trust no one, not even
Both Graham and Tom reviewed our plans and reviewed our
announcement of the expedition:
Mallory and Irvine
The Final Chapter: The retrieval of the camera,
Tom primarily prepared
As the expedition progressed, he consulted on the possible identity of the
Plans were made and set. People were hired, supplies
secured, some sponsors were secured. Then early December of 2003, we received a very
surprising e-mail from Graham stating that the BBC was running their own
Mallory and Irvine expedition in 2004 and that he was going with them. While
Graham's loss was not a critical link in our plans, major
sponsors would lose interest when we told them the BBC was going, too. But we
were too far down the road to pull out. Financially, the expedition would now
need to be primarily funded internally because no one wanted to put up money
with the BBC also going. We made the decision to release details of the
expedition only on a "need to know" basis from that point forward.
We would need to divide the team, with Tom West
leading the public version and the others unknown to everyone but themselves,
leading a "private version." We would take the military approach: 2 of
everything is better than 1, and why build 1 when you can build 2 at twice the
price! (Ever see the Jody Foster movie, Contact?)
"Our plan was not to search, but "to look in
3 locations on Everest."
The plan was that the eyes would be on Tom West and his
small team, while progress of the others would be completely secret to everyone and
completely free to roam the mountain. Dan Mazur would be hired to provide
logistics for Tom's small team, while not in any way telling us when to climb
or what to do. Dan would provide logistics and travel to the mountain and
supplies while on the mountain, including food, tents, etc. Dan did an excellent
job for us. The private team was also well supported by others.
Thom Pollard, a
film expert, officially replaced Graham. Thom would not travel to the
mountain. We had a plan to do some private filming on the mountain in critical
locations that just about everyone but Thom told us would fail.
They were all wrong. Using highly technical equipment, we thought we could cover much area and record it. Hundreds of hours of videotape was sent to the
mountain for our private use. The results were, "we can see a fly at 100 yards." We would return
with many hours of film taken from up high-- not low
quality jpeg pictures from a SONY camera that some like to call video,
but high resolution digital data. We still need to review much of this
video. Another climber would travel to the mountain to replace Graham, but
his identity will remain secret. He would lead and be part of the second
"private climbing group".
The Irvine family was another excellent source of knowledge and
support for our expedition. Back in 2003, we went to the Irvine family with
the knowledge that a climber told us he had seen a body believed to be Sandy
Irvine's. We asked the family for a recommendation on what to do. We discussed almost everything with them. We
agreed with them that Sandy's personal items, if found, would be returned to
them. We discussed jointly gifting any cameras and pictures found on
Sandy's body to a third party non-profit organization. In our
opinion (EverestNews.com), it was clear that Sandy Irvine owned the intellectual property rights
of any photos.
Next Final Plans
We went to Mount Everest in search of an answer.
Digital Altimeter, Barometer, Compass and Thermometer. Time/Date/Alarms.
Chronograph with 24 hour working range. Timer with stop, repeat and up
function. Rotating Bezel. Leveling bubble. Carabiner latch. E.L. 3 second
backlight. Water resistant. 4" x 2-1/4" x 3/4" 2 oz. Requires 1 CR2032
See more here.