Q. The old O2 bottle they
found at 8400 meters could possibly be the light-weight custom-made tank
Maurice Wilson carried, which was never found.
A. EverestNews.com: We will
let Tom Holzel reply to this statement, as we know little about the whole
Wilson expedition except that his bones have been found at the base of the
North Col and one guy has told us and published, according to Tom Holzel,
that he has Wilson's jaw bone in his desk!
A. Tom Holzel: Maurice
Wilson, a Yorkshireman, was an eccentric from a land which has always had an
extraordinarily high tolerance for very strange behavior. In 1934, disguised
as a Tibetan, and with the help of some Tibetan porters, he sneaked into
forbidden Tibet and made his way to Camp 3 at 21,000-ft on the East Rongbuk
Glacier—the jumping-off point for all pre WW-II expeditions to climb Mt.
Wilson intended to transport
himself spiritually to the summit, but was seduced into actually attempting to
climb because of a stroke of luck. He had stumbled into the frozen food
remains of the large British expedition of 1933. He sent his porters back and,
armed with a shaving mirror, intended to climb Mt. Everest without proper
food, equipment or mountaineering experience. The mirror would be used to
signal monks at the Rongbuk Monastery some 15 miles away by flashing sunlight
down to them.
His body was found wrapped in a tent by members of the
British Everest reconnaissance expedition of 1935. It resurfaced from
its crevasse again in 1960 and 1975—and keeps reappearing.
To the best of my knowledge,
there is no record of Wilson having the foresight to include something as
exotic as an oxygen breathing apparatus, particularly by someone who had
himself tested in a hypobaric chamber, and whose primary means of ascension
was to be spiritual. However, his mental disorientation combined with the
lure of Everest has resulted in a potent pheromone that attracts many who
share both attributes. Some of his fan club have been caught spinning tales
of their “secret” research and astounding discoveries under various false
names—always a strong clue to pathology rather than history.
EverestNews.com readers will
find all that is reliably known about Maurice Wilson in his biography I’ll
climb Mt. Everest alone, by Dennis Roberts. The full report of the original
discovery of his body can be found in Walt Unsworth’s book Everest.
there anything connected to the bottle and what was it? (i.e., tubing,
regulators, webbing, etc.)
A. EverestNews.com: No. No tubing, regulators, webbing
were found, nor any in the area around the bottle.
Thanks, for all the information you provide its been really interesting. My
son is in High school and we have been following your story for over two years
Do you believe that Sandy
fell to his death along with George? The reason I ask is that there would
have to be a terrible amount of grief sitting on the mountain wondering if
your partner was dead. I've also read that a body...probably Sandy....was
lying in a crevice wrapped in a sleeping bag. This has always give me cause
to wonder if he actually made it back to the high camp and in desperation
(over George's fall) tried to descend the mountain immediately and took a
sleeping bag just in case he had to stop to rest. Is this a possibility?
This could place his remains anywhere along the decent line which would also
make him visible as there have been reports of sightings.
A. EverestNews.com: No, we do not believe that Sandy fell to
his death. If the "old dead" that our source found was Sandy, then Sandy would
NOT have fallen for sure. However, it is obviously NOT proven that our source
The sleeping bag: to our knowledge there was never a
sleeping bag missing, nor an indication that they took a sleeping bag. And the
rumored body was found far above the nearest tent. However, it brings up the
question could they have prepared for problems by storing items up high, i.e.
oxygen, sleeping bag, etc. But again there is, to our knowledge today, not an
indication from the historical documents that this happened. No climbers of
the twenties and thirties were known to have placed advanced storage depots
above their high tent.
Q. The oxygen bottles and
especially the racks are another item that perturbs me. I believe that GM and
Sandy would have discarded these in such a manor that they would be nearly
impossible to miss if one ventured in the same direction. Possible someone
tossed them down sometime and there lost forever.
What is the chance that Sandy
actually fell higher up on the mountain and died and that Mallory descended to
the Ice axe site "exhausted" and fell to his death alone. This meaning that
the Ice Axe that was found would belong to Mallory.
A. EverestNews.com: A
chance, but the problem we see with this theory is: How does Mallory end up
where he is at without so little injuries?
Q. Anyway you have more details
then I do and my son and I really have enjoyed following your progress.
Hopefully there will be more details someday. As more and more climb Everest
there are more and more chances for clues to be revealed. I really have great
admiration for anyone who attempts to summit Everest and especially those from
before 1940. Good luck and thanks again for the information.
A. EverestNews.com: Thanks and you are right, more will
probably come out over the years.
Q. You searched in three places out
of which two were places where body was to be found and one was interesting
due to other clues. What was the third clue?
A. We searches in many places after "looking" at the 3
locations. We went to "look" at these 3 locations, not to search, but we had time
left over and therefore
we ended up and covered a lot of ground.
On the third location or clue, we searched based on a
photograph that appeared to show some usual objects. The location of the
picture was never determined for sure. But we covered what we thought where
that area was along with a number of others this year.
addition to the oxygen bottle found, were there any other items discovered
that possibly belong to Sandy Irvine or the 1924 expedition?
A. EverestNews.com: The problem is, without a body, how do
you determine who an object belongs too? The artifacts are still packed up in
the shipping bags. We are planning to work with a University to sort and study
the artifacts further (Yes we have looked in the bags!) This "study" is
planned to start in September. It will be interesting if anything more is
revealed. However, we have no expectations that any of the items we found will
Hi, your findings from your
expedition make great reading. if the oxygen bottle was found close to where
Sandy Irvine's potential resting spot and it had been left there, was there a
support for holding the bottle with it. Excellent stuff all this keeps me
coming back checking for more info each day, well done.
EverestNews.com: By "support" we take it you mean how was it propped up to
stay in place. We don’t know. The bottle was simply on the ground all by
itself in the general area of where the “old dead’s” body was supposed to
Q. The climber
[the "old dead" climber] states that it was too dangerous to go there, also
the snow slab was too steep and fall line was clear. What is the likelihood
that Irvine would have gone to a spot and sit down to which is too dangerous
to go to, especially at night if we assume
EverestNews.com: If one assume the "old dead" was
assume he got there coming down after turning around probably at the second
step. Out theory is that he was coming down alone at that point. When climbers
are tired, sometimes they sit down. When you are coming down and you sit down
on Everest, sometimes you don't get up. He could have slide down,
involuntarily a few feet or so, and realized he was near his rope’s end.
Q. Has any information been shared
with and/or feedback been given from other well known researchers?
A. EverestNews.com: "Much", including items like a photo
of Wu's body, has been shared with Tom Holzel. We talk to Tom about twice a
day. His wife, no longer asks who is on the phone, she just says I will get
Tom... Some information was shared with the Simonson group in hoping to
identify the oxygen bottle and others items. Some information was even shared
with the BBC!
Tom has by far been our best and most helpful source, while
he has his own opinions, he has been open to others. Numerous climbers, some
of which we probably should ask before naming (as not everyone wants to be
part of this M&I mystery), have helped in one way or another.
Q. Can the climber who spotted
Irvine be wrong in marking the exact location?
A. EverestNews.com: Well again, the climber said he found an
"old dead" climber. He was very clear where the location was, and we quizzed
him on it extensively, and on video tape. We went twice to the location, just
to be sure. Sandy was not there. Instead we found an oxygen bottle that based
on shape and size one would indicate it was from the 30's. But its location
was higher than any expedition in the 30's went with oxygen. Which is why our
climbers speculated that a Chinese climber must have left the mystery bottle
when he [Chinese climber] found Sandy. It was NOT what we were expecting to
Q. Wang and another Chinese climber
of the 60's team also had stated the location but it was not exactly correct.
Odell had also observed Mallory and Irvine and he was not sure about where
exactly he saw them.
A. EverestNews.com: The greatest problem, we feel with the
Chinese statement might well be the interpretation of what they said. We have
read some of what the Chinese supposedly said of Wu's location, and it is way
off base. We know where Wu is because we have identified him, and we have to
believe the Chinese knew where Wu died. We have to believe the problem is with
the interpretation of what the Chinese said through faulty translations. We
asked the Chinese last year when we were working with them on covering their
Everest expedition, why their famous climbers were called by totally different
names in the western press and sometimes in the Chinese English papers. They
told us the problem is do they translate from Chinese to Tibetan to English,
or Tibetan to Chinese to English, or Chinese to English , or Tibetan to
English? This different translations often results in different names and
means in English.
Q. Will the events of this
expedition be documented in book form as were the other Mallory/Irvine
A. EverestNews.com: Probably not. We had have some interest
on a TV movie and of course articles in the various rags, but we don't really have
the time to work with something like that. At this point, we will just stay
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. We are several questions
behind now, but hopefully can get to most of them this week.
We went to Mount Everest in search of an answer.
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