We have received hundreds of e-mails on the
Mallory and Irvine Story. Many are
very interesting. We think you will enjoy many of them.
There will not be any more Q&A's on M&I
until after the Spring season... We have much to do.
like your theories. I have just one question. If Sandy would have waited
while George went to the summit, wouldn't George be carrying the camera? Or
is there no camera?
A. EverestNews.com: One can only speculate and as we have
discussed no one knows with any certainty if
they had a camera with them.
Q. The eye-witnesses to the body
have said that the skin was blackened.
None of them said that to us.
But does it matter?
Q. [Question continued]: Would seem that Irvine died
slowly and was not prepared for the cold.
A. EverestNews.com: ??? got us. He died, that is
clear. Does how long it took him to die help us explain what happened??
Clearly no one knows how long it took him to die.
Q. Is it
possible that someone could find artifacts on a fall line?
A. EverestNews.com: Sure it
is possible. It might be possible to find the whole body on the fall line. If you determine where the fall line was. Certainly there are those
trying to figure that out right now.
But the fall line is not for those who are weak of heart. Getting climbers
to search those falls line will be difficult. Some might go watch others try
(as was the case in 2004),
but we doubt you will see many try. As far as we know, we have been the only
climbers up on the real steep area.
Q. I know
the supposed location of Irvine's body will not be publicly
for quite some time, if ever... but by looking at the photos which were
published here on this site you can infer that a lot of the
searching/looking took place on the Ridge route and off of it! That tells you
indirectly where Irvine's body was last seen.
A. EverestNews.com: True.
All of these points have ONE thing in common...Things were found on the
mountain and removed by person or persons unknown. Not removed to hurt people
but because of ignorance of the importance of the artifacts. Not knowing of
the huge mystery that would 75 years later envelope Mallory & Irvine's last climb. So, what
was found? What was removed? Where was it removed from? Where is it today? Are
there pictures of these objects?
A. EverestNews.com: Xu told us the Chinese removed
items from the mountain to study them.
Q. I have been following the
mailbags and dispatches religiously. Have come to the conclusion that
the e-news crew did find some new artifacts, at the very
Q. Why would anybody "camp out" in an exposed position, on a
snow bank-slab, when there should have been plenty of time to find a covered
position supposedly waiting for Mallory to return?
A. EverestNews.com: Well when you are dieing and out of gas on
a climb. You don’t always act like normal, not that many climbers act *normal*
at 8000 meters. Most will tell you they are at their limit. For example, we
could show you video this year of a climber who ran out of Oxygen. He is DEAD,
right there, unless that Sherpa changes the bottle for him. He could not have
unzipped his jacket by himself. Other climbers, of course, are much
stronger and can summit without oxygen, Sherpas, can now run up and down
And of course some climbers are going to react between the two
Now if anyone can tell you for sure how Sandy would have
But the evidence in the form of eyewitnesses says he died on the ridge….
If our physical evidence will turn out to be Sandy's is still a question.
You might note a few other dead bodies (with down suits) are on
the Ridge. Sandy appears to be the first but certainly not the last to die on the ridge
There are not "covered positions" up on the ridge.
Q. Where are Mallory's bottles? Where is Mallory's oxygen
A. EverestNews.com: Yes! Now there are questions we would
Those are questions that NEED
answered. They don't appear to be anywhere close to where his body was found.
There is no major damage to his body, as if he fell down the mountain and the
bottles were ripped off. So where are they?
Q. Thanks for
your reply. When I sent my original email to you, my phone line went dead.
I did not know if you had gotten it. And you did. After no
phone service here for about 2 weeks, after new years I was able to get
online last week. I knew I would see another "readers mailbag" but I was blown
away by the Xu Interviews and the End of the Search Updates..!!! That is
something I did not expect. What a story..!! It never ends.
thanks for the reply. Now new questions: What of the
glass object found at the Irvine site?
Could not Irvine be the first to die of HAPE,
HACE, etc. on Everest? If the Chinese took the M & I O2 bottles from M &
I's camp VI, I wonder if anybody bothered to count them? (Did the English
take an inventory in 1933 when they returned?)
comments come to mind after reading the last postings: 1.) Did Wang have
the ice axe on him? This is really a magic bullet to
the theories. 2.) It seems that with two bottles only found on the
ridge leading to the steps, then they might be only the bottles Irvine
carried up. Where are Mallory's? He could really
the summit now. 3.) Tom Hotzel must be really
that his theory is verified by Xu. (He stated that Wang really found
up the continued updates. They are great reading.
all done very well" as Mr. Grace would say.
Do not pick
up any stray
A. EverestNews.com: The above question is multi faceted, let
us break it down into bite sized pieces.
a.) The glass object.
A. EverestNews.com: It is a piece of glass that looks round. We wish we knew
Could not Irvine be the first to die of HAPE, HACE, etc. on Everest?
Yes, but he could have died from other reasons too.
c.) To: did Wang have the ice
axe on him? This is really a magic bullet to the theories.
WOW! We have no idea, but we certainly don't have any information that he did
at this point.
It seems that with two bottles only found on the north face ridge leading to
the steps, then they might be only the bottles Irvine carried up. Where
Where are Mallory's? Suppose they might have been left higher up or on a
different way down? Suppose?
d. ) To: He
could really have made
the summit now.
EverestNews.com: It is possible.
To Tom Hotzel must be really happy now
that his theory is verified by Xu. (He stated that Wang really found
A. EverestNews.com: Tom, Happy? He gets really pissed when you misspell his name, so now
you have done it!
Q. I absolutely agree with you
that exact numbers of altitude are of secondary importance (and matters of
posture minor at best). They and their differences should not dim the exciting
perception that the evolution of theories is in a phase of major changes.
Learning that Mr. Xu confirmed your source's information that Irvine had died high on the northeast ridge, I knew that the theory of "falling roped
together" once and for all was dead and done. No need of fussing about precise
numbers. The big picture is surprisingly clear.
A. EverestNews.com: The big picture does look clear. And now
it is time to zoom in on George's route.
Q. Having now read Q&A 3 (for
which many thanks) I'm happy to let Sandy and the axe rest in peace for now.
One day I expect you will be able to be more precise about the location,
but I'm satisfied if your people think the locations of the body and the
axe are consistent with the theory.
I agree on the big picture -
but I always have! I said in an email months back that the location of
George's body, the lack of damage and the goggles were very strong evidence to
the theory that the only way he could have got there was via the summit, and
that the thing to look for now was some Mallory artefacts.
The extraordinary thing about
the whole story is that it has become more compelling with each new
discovery - your "final chapter" has just proved to be a cliff-hanger for the
next. One day, when your researches are more conclusive - which I'm
betting they will be in time - someone will make a great Hollywood movie of
this. I should make sure you have (c) notices on all your published material!
When will the next climbing
be, and do you still have a lot of work to do on the film you took?
A. EverestNews.com: We will be supporting
climbers on the mountain again this Spring in search of answers. Do you want to help
Q. I just wanted to share a
thought with you on the ice axe location. As you rightly say, it's location is
not proven. However, the account of Hugh Ruttledge in 'Everest 1933', which
was published in October 1934, puts the location 'about 60 feet below the
crest of the ridge and 250 yards east of the first step'. This is probably as
close to a contemporaneous witness statement which is available since one
would hope that Ruttledge consulted with Wager and Wyn Harris in indicating
A. EverestNews.com: Yes, but most probably
Q. You have five different
reports of a body on the ridge, albeit not all in the same location which is
real curiosity for me, though, is why Wager and Wyn Harris didn't find
Irvine's body too.
They must have been looking
for signs of Mallory and Irvine as they went. Having found the axe, it would
be surprising if they had not conducted at least a cursory search of the
environs, looking around them to see if they could spot anything else which
might explain the reason for the axe being there. They did not have time to
carry out a more detailed search of the area, having their own priorities. In
'Everest 1933', it simply says 'the climbers left the axe lying where they
found it, and proceeded upwards to the foot of the first step.....'
I wondered if you had any
thoughts on why Wager and Wyn Harris might have found the axe but not the
Because they were not on the Ridge of Everest which is where the body was
according to at least 5 climbers.
Greetings. I am very new to the
whole mountain climbing/adventure thing. I'm very interested in the
George Mallory mystery, and I've done some reading on the subject. I wanted to
comment on one of the theories I read on this fine site. One thing that makes
me wonder: If George Mallory was boosted by Irvine up the 2nd step, leaving
Irvine behind to dutifully wait, wouldn't George Mallory have had a camera on
his body when it was found? I know it's possible that it dislodged from his
pocket during his fatal fall, but from what I understand about the condition
of his body, there's no way he fell a great body-mangling distance. So the
chances of the camera being dropped would be lessened considerably.
From everything I've read
about what they say about George Mallory's temperament, there's not much
chance he would have gone on to the summit without a camera to show Britain
and the world in general. I understand Irvine had his own camera as well for
his fatal ascent. If so, there's no reason to think Mallory would have given
his friend's borrowed camera to Irvine, leaving Irvine with two cameras and a
nice view of the wall of the second step. I don't think there's a clear line
of sight to the summit when faced with the rock wall of the second step. I
could easily be wrong though.
This is a fascinating mystery
that I pray will be resolved during my lifetime. I personally believe Mallory
did in fact summit the world that day. Maybe I just want to believe it, as
it's a poignant thought. His courage makes one almost forced to believe it.
It's a great mystery. With
how carefully he had his personal letters wrapped in his cloth I find it
impossible to believe he wouldn't have treated his camera, with summit photo
inside to develop, with with extreme care. With the short distance his body
fell, it's hard to believe his camera tore loose yet his altimeter, sungoggles,
meat lozenges, personal letters, all remained in place. Anyways thanks for
reading. truly yours,
A. EverestNews.com: Rather than try to
explain climbers again! Let's look at Xu. Xu had a Leica. Xu was attempting to
be the first to summit the North side just like George. Xu had more help and
much greater supplies. What did he do to with it?
“By this stage we had
ditched a lot of stuff, including my camera, which was a good one, a Leica –
something I regret because we should have taken pictures up there to prove we
were there. I’ll know the next time!” Xu
Another interesting point. Our interviewer
wondered about this
Leica question. You see a Leica
was a very costly camera. Would Xu had ditched it? Did he really had a Leica,
our interviewed wondered.
We have found a picture
with Xu and the Leica on Everest. So yes Xu had a Leica. Checking facts,
rechecking facts, it
still has the fever! "I’ll
know the next time!” Xu
have little doubt, after reading nearly all the books on this subject, that
George Mallory did summit on the June 8, 1924 day.
some that question his climbing ability, yet his peers judge him as one of the
best climbers of that time. George was
a veteran of the mountain and would have been well acclimated. When his
body was found there was no picture of his wife on him. This is a key piece of
evidence. The Picture was well documented and he would have had it in a place
the would have been safe until he summited. After
reading nearly everything on the subject and have no doubt that he summited
Some has stated that your theory has Sandy perishing near the ridge between
the 1st and 2nd steps. I have read (several times) most all of the information
on your site and only see the reference to Sandy's former location (assuming
the snow slab gave way) as being above 8400 meters on or very near the ridge.
Is there a place on your site
where you state this or they simply wrong, with their understanding of English
You are reading our site correctly. They are simply wrong.
Q. One guy claims there is not snow on the Kangshung face
side of the ridge of Everest... Can you explain?
Maybe they are drinking too much Tang?
Are these the same people who were spreading the rumors that Xu was almost
dead in a hospital when we asked for questions from our readers? Well you
figure out if Xu is dead or in the hospital.
For the snow, you can clearly see in the many pictures we
have published where the snow piles. In speaking with
veteran climber and Expedition
leader Gary Pfisterer
one day (his teams has summited Everest, K2, Makalu,
Kangchenjunga, etc.), he gave us this explanation on why it piles there.
snow settles to the east of the ridge because the prevailing winds blow from
the west. This is the same reason it settles heavily on the Kangchang
face as this face is in the lee (the side the wind does not hit) of the
mountain. If you ever notice in photos of Everest, when the mountain has a
plume on it it is always blowing out to the east. The jet stream also
blows from the west in
the higher elevations (mostly above 8000m)." Gary Pfisterer
Q Stiff Upper Lips and the
The M&I mystery is just great
stuff! It is difficult to imagine anything so tantalizing as this story.
My position is now as it
always has been, Mallory summated the mountain. I am basing this on few
facts, some reasoned deduction for experts and on the simple fact that he was
British. That is was 1924 adds some weight to the Britishness angle.
Consider this. The British
have long held a reputation for being, well, conservative with a small ‘c’.
There is a certain modesty, a restraint to our conduct. In the 1930’s, this
code was still rigidly adhered to and things like honour, which we too readily
dismiss today, were vitally important and had a certain currency. In short,
what a gentlemen sportsman said was generally what he would do. George Leigh
Mallory was clearly a man of repute, a worthy gentleman and supreme athlete.
As such, sportsman’s honour would have mattered a great deal to him. To Sandy
too. They were both from the north of England, like me, and there is
undoubtedly a stubbornness that characterized northern spirit, allied to a
sense of fair play and a preparedness for hard ‘graft’ (work).
If Mallory had said he was
intending to leave a picture of his wife on the summit, he would have done
exactly that. I think there is no doubt that he would have done this.
That there is no picture of his wife anywhere in his remains points heavily to
him having left it somewhere. There is only one place he would have left
it. If we afford Mallory the character traits described in the previous
chapter (and why not?), it is totally reasonable to assume that he achieved
his goal. Clearing the second step, he went for it and, digging deep
into his northern, British, sportsman’s reserves, he ploughed on and deposited
the image of his sweetheart on the summit.
The camera? It’s with
Sandy. Mallory did not take it with him as he went alone. With no tripod,
how could he take a picture of himself? No, there was no need for the camera;
people would just have to believe him. Do not dismiss this important point;
it was acceptable at that time that if a gentlemen gave his word, it was as
good as fact. Mallory did not think twice about the need to evidence his
achievement, he knew instinctively that others would believe him – it was the
way things were done!
So, there it is. Little more
to add to the mystery, but what I argue here makes sense to me. In a way, it
is the idiosyncrasies of the British that goes a little way to explaining the
‘emotional’ side of the mystery. If that sound winsome, fine. I see no
reason for Mallory not having an image of his wife on his person unless he
unloaded it somewhere. Other papers were in tact, the photo would have been
as well. Furthermore, it would have been safely tucked away, no doubt on an
inner breast pocket and so could not have fluttered away in the winds.
It seems plausible that Sandy
played the ‘good soldier’, absolutely, and plausible that Mallory went for it
and got there. I concur with the view that they separated and Mallory came
down through the couloir where he slipped and fell. I once suffered a broken
leg when I fell on some ice. I simply fell awkwardly and landed on my leg
which had folded beneath me. It would have been easy to have belted my head
off a rock as I fell. This worries me as I fear the great man may have
suffered, of that I am certain.
I make no apologies for
sounding like some crazy old English nutter. I hope nothing could be futher
from the truth. I am a middle-aged northerner with a passing interest in this
mystery. Being British and understanding a little about our strange ways,
what I have said here will ring true to many Britons, whether they concur or
not with my emotional angle. Whatever!
Sandy Irvine did his job,
may he rest in peace.
As we stated before, the search for Sandy
Irvine's body appears to be over.
It is now time to look for
evidence of a Summit of Mt Everest by
George Leigh Mallory.
Time to cut to the
Thanks for all the e-mails and support. Feel free to submit your comments to
and thank you
for your support.
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