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  Everest 2004: Mallory and Irvine The Final Chapter: Q&A Part 3


©EverestNews.com

Q. Assume [your] climbers are right [correct], that Sandy is the person your one source saw in the location he described to you.

1. Can you tell us more precisely where the location is?  Since Sandy's body is not there, is there reason to keep this information private?

A. EverestNews.com: That is a valid question, and one in which we have pondered very carefully and need to continue to consider in the future. We would, of course, speak with the family before releasing that information. As we discussed earlier, we agreed with the Irvine family not to reveal the location. We plan on keeping our word. We can say the location was above 8400 meters, and we might or might not get more specific later.

One could argue that since Sandy was not there when we went to the location, then it would be an open field day. There are several questions that we must decide here. 1.) If we were to reveal the location would we be breaking our word to the Irvine family. 2.) Would 4 or more expeditions be there next year to then search the fall line? Do we want to be party to that chaos? NO. What is the probability he fell over the other side? Do we want to go back and do the job ourselves and therefore keep it quiet? No. But maybe some of our climbers do. If we publish the information and someone goes there (or searches the fall line) and finds Sandy and publishes the pictures of his dead body, then did we contribute to that? In that case, yes. And we do NOT want to contribute to that. In our opinion, if Sandy's body fell even several hundred meters; his body is going to be in a horrible state. For example, when we asked Tom Holzel about his opinion of publishing a picture of Wu, he thought we should. Once we showed him a picture, he stated "NO". Another possibility could be to reveal the location to another expedition that would agree in writing to abide by the Irvine family's wishes. These are complex issues, but there is time. As you get older, you learn to take your time.

EDITORIAL SIDE BAR: We feel there needs to be a real discussion regarding what to do with the dead bodies on Everest, and frankly the state of the dead bodies on Everest. These bodies are NOT simply frozen in time. These bodies are decaying. They are horrible to look at and in at least some cases are not being left "alone".

As to the location, we see no reason to release it at this time. If you recall, we asked others if they wanted to go look, but no one seemed interested. Everyone has a theory of their own. It is probably best if the others keep working on their theories and we finish this one off now that we started it, if there is more to do on our theory.

Q. Along George's fall line? 

A. EverestNews.com: Neither we nor any of our climbers believe George Mallory fell from up high from the ridge or even anywhere close to the ridge.

Q. How far from George's body was Sandy's body?  If a long distance (and not on George's fall line), [do you have] any ideas on how and where George's rope broke?  (We all assumed they were roped together when George fell).  Does Sandy's location back that up, the “roped-together theory”, or or would their disparate locations make that unlikely? For example, does this mean they separated before George fell? 

A. EverestNews.com: If the "old dead" that our source found was Sandy Irvine, then we must conclude that they were NOT roped together when George fell. We do NOT believe George's injuries are consistent with a fall of any more than a few feet. His injuries are surely not consistent with a fall of 300 meters. Our theory is they separated several hours before George fell.

Q. Did the climber who [told us he] saw the old dead say if he saw an oxygen bottle on the back of the old dead?

A. EverestNews.com: The climber stated to us that when he saw the old dead body in army colored clothes and that he was then frightened. Therefore, he went another way. He stated he did not see the face. He stated the climber did not have a down suit or jacket on.

Q. I don't quite understand the team's theory.  Do they believe the climber in fact saw Sandy? 

A. EverestNews.com: Yes! Our team interviewed the climber who saw the "old dead" and our team believes the climber's statements. They believe it all adds up to him having found Irvine’s body. We even recorded the interview on film and have reviewed it many times. What he saw could only have been the body of Sandy Irvine, unless he somehow imagined something. However, based on his "word", who else could you conclude he saw? We now know where Wu and Mallory are at and they are not near this location. History, says no other old bodies are up there.

Q. You seemed fairly confident before the expedition that you would find the camera, either on Sandy or close by.  Why?

A. EverestNews.com: Because we had live people who told us where to go.

Q. Suppose the bottle is Sandy's. (Which seems likely, given the letters you found on it.)  Does it make sense that another climber, many decades later, might find it at another spot, pick it up, find it still had oxygen, then use it? 

A. EverestNews.com: No, if the bottle is Sandy's that does not make sense. However, if the bottle is NOT Sandy's, which is maybe what you meant to say, then yes, I think we covered that a few days back. That is Tom Holzel's theory. That another climber—possibly one on the Chinese 1960 expedition--found it, saw that it still had oxygen in it, picked it up, and carried it up.  We are warming-up to his theory.

Q. I'm a complete amateur, but that seems like a stretch. 

A. EverestNews.com: The question is, if the bottles is NOT Sandy's then how does it get there??? Holzel has the only theory so far. We are open to any other ideas.

Q. If the bottle is Sandy's, to me that suggests the body was Sandy's as well. Am I jumping to conclusions there?

A. EverestNews.com: No. That would seem very logical.

Q. I'd be real interested to hear several opinions now on what happened back on June 8, 1924.  Always enjoy Holzel's ideas. Also the team's thoughts, and whether EverestNews.com has any official opinions.  It's been fascinating.  The mountain does not easily give up her secrets!

A. EverestNews.com: Yes we have an official theory, and you got most of it out of us! We hope to put it all on paper in the coming weeks...

An old fashioned Q&A. With hundreds of e-mails a day it is tough to keep up with the everestnews.com e-mail, so submit your questions to  and we will try to answer them as a group to be more effective. If you feel we missed your question (many questions are similar, please re-submit it. We have one more large set to answer...

We went to Mount Everest in search of an answer.

Dispatches

 
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