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  Mallory and Irvine The Final Chapter: Mail Bag 8


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. Note we cannot answer all the e-mail/questions, but you will see a few comments below...

Looking down on the way up... ©EverestNews.com

Reader's Letter: Hi EverestNews.com, Have you or Thom Pollard given any thought to the possibility that maybe GM's skull injury occurred after he had fallen and was dead...maybe weeks after? Is the place of injury on his head exposed to the mountain in a manner that this could have happened? I can't see a person, on the side of a mountain, at that altitude, being hit by a rock flying down "100 mph?+++" and yet be able to arrest his fall with arms and fingers stretched out and then being able to cover a broken leg in a protective manner.

EverestNews.com:  Thom Pollard has a theory that he has shared with us. He plans to share with you once he gets time to write it down...

To your question, it depends if you believe George died face down as he was found, or sitting up..... Which was it? There does not appear to be an agreement. Our "gut" thinking is that George most probably died as he was found, face down.

Reader's Letter continued:  Furthermore, I believe that the position that GM was in when found lends itself towards the idea that Mallory and Irvine had separated long before the fall. Had George fallen while with Sandy, and had the fall been a relatively short fall as most seem to believe, I think that, knowing what I've learned of Irvine's character, Sandy would have made his way down towards the fallen George. If this were the case, I believe that George wouldn't have been found sprawled, out clinging to the mountain, face down. He might have been on his back or curled up as if someone had rolled him over to check his wounds. His position indicates to me that he fell with no one around to look for him or rescue him.

Keep up the great work. I check in every day to see if you have posted any updates.

EverestNews.com:  Good point.

Reader's Letter:  Hello, wonderful reporting, the readers letters are so interesting, covering all types of questions & answers.

I am wondering of the earlier question of the picture of Ruth Mallory, that has been reported of George Mallory carrying with him. " Has there been any more evidence of  where the picture might be now ?" Again, wonderful historical readings!!! Thanks

EverestNews.com: No one has found the picture to date, while this could suggest George summited, we must also point out it is not certain that George did take that photo with him. We agree, the readers letter's are very interesting!

Reader's Letter: Thanks for all the great detective work up to this point. In time I'm sure Sandy will be found, lets hope along with the camera.

My personal theory is, that George made it alone after shedding the useless oxygen apparatus, Sandy was unable to keep up and waited below the 2nd step for George to return. Unfortunately, they were benighted and perished separately. This I feel is the reason Sandy will be found further east, since he was endeavoring to reach camp VI and shelter. Please what are your thoughts on this line of reasoning.

EverestNews.com: 1. We are not sure Sandy body's found will ever be found.

2. Your line of reasoning is possible; but if those who have seen 'old dead' bodies are correct Sandy died much higher up on the mountain.

Reader's Letter: Do you have plans to continue the search for Mallory's missing equipment?

EverestNews.com: We expect to work with a team of several climbers who will return to the mountain. However, details are far from final. EverestNews.com does not expect to "lead" in these future expeditions, but just support climbers who continue the quest. Any climbers EverestNews.com supports will be required to sign a written agreement holding them to similar ethical standards.

That is our current thinking, let's see how it develops. We do see some reasons to return which we will talk about in the future.

Reader's Letter: If he did take the couloir route could the oxygen mask and ice ax be somewhere along that route? 

EverestNews.com: Yes. The question is: if Mallory's oxygen equipment was found high up in the couloir would that be enough evidence to support a "summit"? What do you think?

Reader's Letter: I'm not a climber, but have followed with great interest the exploits of Mallory and Irvine, and your great coverage. 

Would it be possible, as you suggested, that Irvine helped Mallory at the second step, and then Mallory, with his rope, helped hoist/pull Irvine up with him? Thanks and keep up the great work.

EverestNews.com: Many things are *possible*, it has not been proven either way at this point…. It seems most logical to us that Sandy did not go up; it appears he died below the Second Step.

Reader's Letter: Who were the oxygen bottles supplied by in 20's?

EverestNews.com:  Our understanding is the 1922 bottles were supplied by Metallic Seamless Tube Company of which there is a representation at the Alpine Club and the 1924 Cylinders supplied by Armstrong Whitworth. We are NOT oxygen experts and have found little time to dig into this. There are several questions we would like to see answered. You asked right?

What were these bottles really made for: meaning were these bottles made for the military, industry, or medical purposes? Were all bottles the same size or was there variations? Details on the 1930's bottles markings? Take an "open and clear mind and start from zero"; dig in the archives of London and find out the real story of the Everest oxygen. This is something all the readers could work on.

For example in 1938: Is it as simple as there were 2 oxygen sizes in 1938 and all bottles of the same capacity the same size and shape? Were there multiple lots of varying shape and variations? To our limited knowledge on oxygen bottles, the known sample size of 1938 bottles is 2, both in China now. Those bottles, we are told have no markings on the neck. If true, did all the 38 bottles have no markings? Or were some marked and others not marked?

Did others in 1924 bring oxygen to the mountain as has been suggested? Was this oxygen a different kind or the same?

We have many bits and pieces, but no clear answers. Much work to be done in our opinion.

Reader's Letter:  Could the body see in 1960 by the Chinese be that of Wilson and not Irvine? 

EverestNews.com: It is our understanding that the Chinese buried Wilson at around ABC. This is in Chinese published reports. Wilson’s body has been found several times…

Reader's Letter continued: If Mallory did summit and did travel down the North Col could Irvine's body be somewhere along that return path?  Thanks again for all the accounts and I am looking forward to your next release of information.

EverestNews.com: Of course, many things are possible and few things are proven today. However, for your theory to be true, the eyewitness accounts of the dead bodies up high must be false. We don't think the eyewitness accounts are false. The evidence to date, points to Sandy dying up high on Everest.

Reader's Letter:  In your theory you say that no one would have intentionally left his ice axe where the one believed to be Sandy Irvine's was found.  Is it at all possible that Sandy Irvine in fact did intentionally leave the ice ax as a sort of "marker" when he decided to head down without Mallory.  The "marker" might have been a sign to Mallory as to where Sandy had been and that he had headed down, or a "trail marker" for either?  Or, could Sandy Irvine have left it there as proof as to where they had been for others to find? 

EverestNews.com:  Our opinion is: No.

Reader's Letter continued: I, too, was convinced that Mallory and Irvine did not summit until I read your theory.  I believe Mallory very well may have summited.  What still amazes me is the clothing, and in particular, boots and socks they were wearing and how they could have withstood the cold with what they had on. Thank you for the work you have done on this project and your dedication to maintaining integrity.

EverestNews.com: Thanks for all the e-mails and support. Feel free to submit your comments to and thank you for your support.

Dispatches

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