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  Mallory and Irvine The Final Chapter: The Mail Bag 12/1/2004: Two climbers claim to have found Irvine's body in two different places?


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.

Area searched between the 1st step and 1933 C6 above the snow terrace by EverestNews.com climbers in Spring 2004 marked in white according to maps provided to them by their climbers. Note the map is not intended to mark snow terrace or ridge areas searches in this area, or searches in any other area on the mountain but just this area: EverestNews.com©Thom Pollard

Reader's Letter:  Everestnews Web site, I make you my best compliments because your work is really great, full of fantastic and fresh news and your theory about Mallory & Irvine last day is reasonable and really different from the old past theories. (Italy)

EverestNews.com: Thank you for the kind words.

Reader's Letter: It is very confusing that two persons claim to have found the dead Irvine [Irvine's body] in [two] different places (Xu Jing in 1960, and your source).

EverestNews.com:  Are you sure they were in different places? We interview climbers all the time, some can't even tell you who they summited with. While some [reporters?] like to quote climbers statements as absolute fact when it supports whatever point of view they are promoting. One needs to be very careful when studying evidence from memory experienced above 8000 meters in our opinion.

With that said we don't believe either climber lied. We just don't know for sure where Xu’s indicated location was. We see this as a developing story... We have NOT concluded whether there is one location or two. We do believe we know accurately where our source stated he found an old dead body.

History says there were no other dead bodies up there. So that suggests that both of these climbers saw the same body or one of them mistook something else for a body.

We have found no evidence pointing to 'unknown expeditions".

In our research so far, we have found that some of the Chinese refers to the bag (or pouch) George Mallory was carrying as a "sleeping bag". Now to us Americans, we would never call that a "sleeping bag". (Hopefully most of you know that George was found with one bag (pouch) around him which contained several artifacts; We are not sure if that has been discussed much publicly.) Could this help explain Xu's statement about the dead body with a "sleeping bag"? We don't know, yet. But this gives you an idea of the confusion that can come up, trying to interpret what people from other cultures and languages are really saying.

Reader's Letter continued:  Xu Jing's information was right. I ask myself: Why wasn't Xu Jing's data examined then? Where to search everyone can read: Detectives on Everest, page 187 !!!

Why didn't you?

EverestNews.com:  As we stated in our approach to the expedition, we would let the other searchers go first. They did and the BBC is on the record as having found nothing which included searching the Chinese (Xu Jing) location from our understanding and many other places they went on the mountain. Of course, if Xu Jing was misinterpreted, then that search area could of have been off.

Or one could argue that if our interpretation of our source was off then our search area could of have been off. However, in our case, we did not interpret really anything in the end. We got a map...

Two of our climbers also went to the Chinese area after they were visited by other searchers from another team and it was suggested as a place to look. Our climbers looked and found nothing there. (No we were NOT working with the other searchers.) This was not in our original plan, but our climbers went to several locations after looking in our targeted locations.

Both visually on site and in the video of our climbers climbing up to what you refer as "Xu Jing's location" or what we have referred to as the "Chinese location" (same place); We saw NO evidence on the film that any climbers have ever been climbing in those areas before. The areas going up to the Chinese location appeared "virgin". No bodies, no artifacts, nothing except rock...

This area, climbing up to the "Chinese or Xu Jing's location" is very dangerous. The opinion of our climbers and another climber, that we respect who has also searched for Sandy, is that no climber could down climb from that location as some have suggested. Now that is only their opinion. Watching the video of the climbers going up shows this to be intense climbing; while probably more of an endurance test than a highly technical climb, this area is very steep in certain sections. Climbing up without fixed ropes, as our climbers did, required experienced strong mountain climbers a lot of skill and concentration. (These are NOT areas for those who have never been on Everest. These are NOT areas for many who have summited Everest!)

But back to the point, in their opinion, to down climb from that area, going in the direction of Mallory's body, would not be possible. If this opinion is right, this would not rule out one theory in which Mallory fell down a small way and died and then his body came down the mountain over time. We refer to this as the Magic Bullet Theory. It is possible and hard to disprove until hard evidence is discovered above the Second Step or in the couloir. But the Magic Bullet Theory, as we have discussed earlier, seems improbable.

In summary our searches of the "upper right" of Everest's North face between the "Chinese location" and Second Step (not including the Summit ridge area or the snow terrace): Our climbers told us they searched the "Chinese location" plus the routes shown to the right of the Chinese location that were between the Chinese location and the Second Step on the map above. These are very dangerous routes up the mountain. We had planned to search to the right of the "Chinese location" to explore the theory that Sandy could be up high on a ledge or against a rock. After seeing the film, we advise anyone going up there, that it is very very dangerous. (Ok, we have covered that!)

As a disclaimer (or to give hope) to those who still want to believe Sandy is at the Chinese Location, when we went into the area, there was some snow on the ground. However, when the BBC went early there in the season, assuming that information is correct, there would have been very little snow there. We don't believe the BBC or anyone else searched those "routes" we took up the mountain this season. But we don't know where all the others went this year or have gone in the past. We tried not to study those factors, but to take a clean look at the whole picture.

There is a Sherpa body (in a down suit) high up in this area near the ridge... Our climbers told us it was the Sherpa from 1996, we have not confirmed that.

We did find evidence of climbers having been at the location our theory told us to look. Whether this trace evidence is Mallory and Irvine's is still to be determined. The trace evidence continues to be developed.

EverestNews.com: Also you might enjoy reading Mallory and Irvine 1924 Theories: Sandy Irvine Theories By Tom Holzel that was published before our expedition.

Many of the readers/questions appear to come from readers who have not read all the articles published before our expedition. We published many articles as background information to the Mystery. We also found articles this weekend, that never got published that we hope to add soon... To find/read many of those articles look at the menu to the upper left of this page. You will notice that the Mallory and Irvine pages have their own menu, which attempts to index many articles which attempt to provide a wide point of view.

EverestNews.com: One another note: When these climbers are climbing/walking along and come across the body, there is no mistake about it. These bodies are obvious bodies: they are 5-6 feet long, etc etc... They are really not hard to see. Could it be possible to miss one? and miss it in the film? Very unlikely in our opinion, if you actually are at a location of a body. You do hear the stories of the wasted climbers walking by dead bodies without noticing them. But our guys were in very good shape, they were not wasted climbers coming down (or going up) from a summit attempt. They are elite mountain climbers who know their limitations who were on bottled oxygen the whole time up high. We stressed safety. Not coming back was not an option... Going to these locations was very dangerous and something they chose to do. In some cases, places they decided to go on their own...

EverestNews.com: The above map of this search area. A disclaimer: It is hard to put routes on a general map. So don't do over-analysis it; what you see is our attempt at transferring the information from the map the climbers labeled, but which we don't have the copyright to be able to publish, to the map you see.

Note map caption: Area searched between the 1st step and 1933 C6 above the snow terrace by EverestNews.com climbers in Spring 2004 marked in white according to maps provided to them by their climbers. Note the map is not intended to mark snow terrace or ridge areas searches in this area, or searches in any other area on the mountain but just this area.

Also the term "routes" is probably incorrectly used here. These climbers were making new routes, not following any route...

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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