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  Everest 2004: Mallory and Irvine The Final Chapter: What was found...

What was found (This page need updated bad, as developments continue.)


Old camps, bodies (at least one with a leather boot), old clothing, artifacts of various kinds. An oxygen bottle apparently from the 1920's or 1930's. The most interesting items on the surface are the body, which is that of WU from 1975 and the oxygen bottle that was found where we were told we would find an "old dead" climber in army colored clothes. We also need to study the hours of film to see what else the film will reveal.

"Frankly we were prepared to find Sandy, not what we found, a ton of artifacts. It will take us a long time to sort out these artifacts."

But let's look at the oxygen bottle today....


The Oxygen Bottle

After we found the oxygen bottle where the old dead climber was supposed to be located, we called several knowledgeable people to ask if they might throw some light on the markings found on the bottle. This occurred while our team was on the mountain. But we have not found a definitive answer to this yet. We were surprised to find that these markings apparently meant almost nothing to people. After studying the evidence and talking with numerous people, it is now clear that no one has any "key" to the markings on the early English bottles. No one even seems to be certain who made these bottles. No one seems to have any pictures of markings on earlier oxygen bottles, either. To say that there is very little information readily available about these early English oxygen bottles is an understatement!! Everest Oxygen bottles from the 1924 to 1938 expeditions are very rare, but we expected there would be much more knowledge on these bottles than what appears to exist.


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A few 1924 oxygen bottles are said to exist, but we have yet to receive any pictures of the markings from those bottles to compare to the bottle we found. A professional researcher is now attempting to determine who made this bottle and the other old English bottles. Hopefully he will find the key to the manufacturing markings so we can ascertain which expedition this bottle belonged to. We have no idea how long that will take.

It has been stated to us the 1922 and 1924 bottles were marked "EOC", standing for Everest oxygen cylinder. Our bottle is marked EOC as the photograph shows. All of the apparent markings on our bottle is on the neck of the bottle and the stem that comes out of the neck.

"The bottle is clearly an old English bottle from the 1920's or 1930's."

The bottle is similar in size to the two 1938 bottles known to exist. However, this bottle does not appear to be as fat and is probably shorter. We are told that the 1938 bottles that the Chinese had in China have no markings on them. We have also looked at pictures of the 1938 bottles, which show no markings on the neck. No other 1938 bottles are known to exist.

Climbers and historians have identified these very few pre-WW II bottles that have been found over the year by size, not by any markings on the bottles. The bottles of 1922 (of which dozens have been found) are long and very narrow. The 1924 bottles are long and fatter based on the historical pictures and supposedly on the one bottle found to date. Tom Holzel tells us that some of the bottles used in 1933, 36 & 38 are short and fat so they could be carried stacked sideways, one on top of each other.

So what does this mean? If the climbers' theory (which we will explore next) is right, then this bottle would need to be a bottle the Chinese used, or a body from the old dead climber. If this was Sandy's bottle, this would need to be a 1924 bottle.

Since our bottle was found above 8400 meters, Tom Holzel suggests that a 1960’s Chinese climber could have found a 1938 bottle (he believes there was 2 sizes of bottles in 1938), discovered it contained oxygen, and picked it up—either thinking it was one of theirs, or simply to have extra oxygen for sleeping. Tom feels strongly that the bottle we found is too short to be a 1924 bottle, as he is certain only one size of bottle was used then.

We heard from one researcher that there were two sizes of bottles in 1924. So, we asked Julie Summers, the author of Sandy Irvine’s biography (Fearless on Everest) and the great niece of Sandy Irvine, about different sizes of bottles in 1924.  She said, "of course there was". Julie provided us with various sources of information.

As you can see, we have much work yet to do...

Yes, this bottle was found above 8400 meters.

We are still digging... Yes it is going very slow (we know)...

Next: The Team's Theory

We went to Mount Everest in search of an answer.


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