A. EverestNews.com: is our reply to the
Q. Is the question from our reader, not our
opinions or thoughts.
In some cases you will note we just publish a
reader's comments. That does not mean we agree or disagree with the reader.
What side of the
mountain is that snow on?©EverestNews.com
Your final theory published in
December indicates that Irvine died between the first and second step.
A. EverestNews.com: No, Xu said Irvine died
between the first and second step. We said, "It
is not coincidental that we choose Xu Jing's story to publish rather than
another climber's. Xu's story obviously leaves a very large area to search
fall lines from the First Step to the Second Step. "Would be" treasure hunters
will have their work cut out for them if they want to try a search for the
remains of Sandy as we will discuss more below." And even that you need to
read in context....
The Final Chapter of Sandy Irvine?
you published your initial theory in October you made the following comments
regarding the fate of Irvine:
point, which is impossible at this point to say when, he realized George was
not coming back. He got up and started to try to walk, dropped his ice axe and
soon sat down again. He did not get back up."
A. EverestNews.com: Exactly! you got it!
That is what we said.
Let's look at the big picture.
a.) Sandy died.
b.) The number of climbers who said he
died on the ridge is growing. At least 5 claims of Sandy or an "old
dead" on the
Ridge of Mt Everest.
c.) To date, none of the climbers recalls
seeing the ice axe with Sandy at the presumed place of death.
d.) It is safe to assume he dropped his ice
axe when he sat down.
e.) You don't fall to the Ridge of
Everest, you sit down on the Ridge on Everest.
SO, Exactly. You got it! Our theory or
logic on all of that has not changed. Don't read more into it than it
Our first "source" placed the "old dead" on the ridge of Mt
Everest. All five, including Xu, have placed the body on the ridge of Mt
Q. In your
last M&I Final Chapter Q&A you pointed out that high altitude climbers often
tell different stories about their climbs and why this might happen. Your
statements seem to strengthen and verify my theory that Irvine simply, and
accidentally, dropped his ax.
Here's the passage from your
site that I'm referring to..."We have talked to thousands of Everest climbers.
The mind clearly does not function well above 8000 meters for many of these
climbers. So why are climbers wrong, how can they report something wrong. They
are human! Many are out of their element. Most are exhausted and at their
mental and physical limit. For most it is their first and only time up there.
They don't know where they are going. They make mistakes, and many do not
always know the world is watching. Are climbers liars? No, not most
anyways.... Do they recall things well from above 8000 meters? Generally no.
Sherpas appear to recall things much better and are clearly on average much
stronger than western climbers, but that is another story."
These descriptions certainty
apply to 22 year old, novice climber Sandy Irvine. I'm of the belief that your
same argument can be made for the possibility of Sandy simply not being aware
that his un-tethered ax slips from his mitten or from where he may have lodged
it in his pack as he traverses the, not so technically difficult (ax not
needed), face of Everest below the ridge. Again, I assume that Mallory would
have been in the lead choosing the lines and pacing the two.
Thank you again for
entertaining my emails. Hopefully you can reply in a future Q&A. I really love
following your process and appreciate the manner in which you are doing it.
Human error as a reason for the ice ax being where it was found cannot be
ignored. There have been hundreds of climbers that have made huge mistakes
high and low on Everest...many are known as DECEASED.
read anywhere that these experts have ever been to Everest's North Ridge. If
he's never made the ascent, then why are they so against a 22 year old simply
dropping his ax as he is the first in history to make that altitude?
Having gone back over your theory today I think the axe location deserves some
debate, because it is the one really implausible aspect of the theory. We now
know, more or less, where Sandy died, and more or less where an ice axe which
is thought to be Sandy's was found in 1933.
Your theory says: "He got up and started to try
to walk, dropped his ice axe and soon sat down again. He did not get back up.
We believe Andrew "Sandy" Irvine died high on Everest, never knowing whether
or not his friend and climbing partner, George Mallory, fulfilled their dream
and made it to the Summit."
But the problem is that
Sandy's body was found a long distance further up the ridge, towards the
summit, than the axe. If your theory is correct then Sandy didn't "soon" sit
down - he walked a very considerable distance the wrong way along the ridge,
climbing the First Step again, after dropping his axe.
Assuming the accuracy of the
reported location of Sandy's body, there are a range of possibilities which
would still support the theory, but none of them are very plausible:
1. Sandy dropped his axe and
walked, disoriented, the wrong way for a long distance, including reclimbing
the First Step, until he died. This seems highly unlikely even if he was
completely disoriented in the afternoon snow storm.
2. Sandy left the axe and
went back in the wrong direction deliberately for some other reason. But why
would he leave his axe if he was still functioning?
3. Someone moved Sandy's axe
from where he died to the place where it was found. If so presumably it must
have been Mallory, which explodes the theory anyway. And why would he do it?
If (say) Mallory had left Sandy dead or sheltering, would there have been any
possible purpose for him in carrying another axe?
4. Sandy had left it on the
way up. But why, especially if he hadn't yet climbed even the First Step?
5. The wrong location was
reported in 1933.
6. It wasn't Sandy's axe.
7. The location Xu axe is off some, maybe a
lot, which is why you published it.
8. The wind blew it there.
9. It fell down to that location.
A. EverestNews.com: The
answer of course is, no one knows for sure how the ice axe got there,
nor are we sure where it was found with certainty. Nor do
we know how the oxygen bottle(s) got to where it or they were found, which no
one seems sure of that location anymore. We will probably never know
for sure how any of these items got to where they were found. This is hard for
the public to understand, and is a real good reason for
those searching for artifacts in the future to film as much as possible, so
items and locations can be pinpointed with certainly.
We believe Sandy dropped the ice axe on the way back. Of
course that is not proven, nor is it even proven that is Sandy's ice axe. Nor
is it proven where the ice axe was found. But that is our theory. We
believe the ice axe's location is consistent with the real location where
Sandy Irvine died. It is possible Sandy dropped it on the way up or it got there another
We see now that when we published Xu Jing's map we
confused a few of our readers. We did not mean to. Xu placed Sandy on the ridge and
knew "certain details" that the other
climber also stated. But Xu's location was significantly different. Also the
location that Xu "described" was not half way between the 1st and second
steps. But as you can see that is where Xu placed the location. Not really
surprising. We would have been completely shocked if Xu had marked the
map at the exact same location. We believe Xu was a little off in his location map.
Several of you (our readers) figured out
from our earlier reports that we believed Sandy was on the Ridge of Everest.
After all we said it several times! We believed Xu's story was a good way to
indicate that (Sandy was on the Ridge) to the others who did not figure it out.
Why do climbers place Sandy in different
locations? We think we covered that in the last Q&A questions... If you give 5
climbers a map, each one will mark a different spot.... (all the Ridge)
Does that mean 5 men dies on the ridge on Mt Everest before
Xu Jing got there? Are 5 climbers wrong about him dying on the ridge? We don't
think so. We expect the 5 number to grow. More details continue to come
forward. We are continuing to spend significant resources
to study this mystery. But our focus has changed. We really need to move to
George Mallory. The 2005 Everest
season will soon be here. Logically, the possibility that Sandy summited
Everest seems very small.
The question is: How did George's body get to where the
Chinese found it in 1975? We still see two logical possible explanations as we
explained before in
Chapter of Sandy Irvine.
Q. You know
the questions I have so I will just cover some of the same territory
because it is interesting.
Now, if indeed Mallory's ice axe was found next to his
body, what does that actually tell us? Simple. It tells us that there is
absolutely no way Mallory fell from the Ridge. The axe would not have stayed with
Mallory's body during a 900 meter fall. So, the presence of the axe (if
true) virtually proves the theory that Mallory fell within a few
meters of where his body now lies. That is all it tells us.
other items were found and taken? There was mention of rope also. I wonder what
else has been found and removed from the mountain. And an even better
questions is: WHERE were the other items found? That alone will tell us some
details of where Mallory or Irvine might have descended or fallen, etc.
Imagine if rope was found ABOVE the Third Step? OR Mallory's oxygen rig?
Irvine's oxygen rig? I think Irvine waited for a time at the
area so naturally he would have discarded the rig in that vicinity.
Q. Suppose for a second that Xu
or the others are right …. Where would the body have gone???? Surely, it is not
still on the ridge…. I think many will tell you that, so where is it????
A. EverestNews.com: The body would fall down one side or the other side of
the mountain... (Sorry for the non-rocket science answer again.)
information given about the position of Irving's body puzzles me.
Another account was that body in a crack or crevice?
A. EverestNews.com: None of our sources put
him in a crack or crevice. They all put him on the ridge.
Q. Do any of the witnesses to
Irving's body state if he had oxygen tanks? If not, then one would assume
that the back pack if there was one would be somewhere enroute to the summit.
No one mentioned oxygen cylinders next to
the body, but we are not sure we focused on this. Again the answer(s) can vary
on what is asked.
Q. The oxygen tank found
near or by Irving's body it is indicated that the vintage is 1930. If that is
the case what climbing team does it belong to?
Not true. We don't know the year the oxygen cylinder was used, as we have stated before.
Someday, we will find the answer to that one. We are not in a rush.
Q. Hi EverestNews, What are your plans this year regarding M&I?
Will you be searching again? And where?
Looking forward to your reply.
A. EverestNews.com: Yes we will be
searching this time... We will be searching around the Summit approach and
There, Thanks for all the info and keep it coming. I feel more certain than
ever now that Mallory summited though we will never know for certain. Being
that close he would not have turned around until he had, knowing it was his
last shot. Well done!
A. EverestNews.com: But you know what the naysayers will now
claim; "George would have turned around on the summit pyramid, "or
team, Great professionalism from
yourselves; several issues here:
You stated that the search
for the body of Irvine up on the northeast ridge is over, but will you conduct
a search on possible fall lines to try to get some clues, artifacts etc?
A. EverestNews.com: No. We will look
in other areas for evidence that George Mallory got above the
We are moving forward with the theory that
Sandy did not Summit. Therefore, searching the fall line would not be worth
the risk to us. And if a camera is someday found, what would it hold???
Probably nothing at all, except some pictures at camp 6...
Q. Hello Again and thank you for
your hard work, Great Job! It sounds as if the
1960 & 1975 Chinese expeditions picked up a lot of items on the mountain as
souvenirs or to put in a museum later one being Mallory's Ice Axe. Wong Hongbao
seems to have died with the axe if I read the article correctly.
A. EverestNews.com: No. Xu said the ice axe
was found next to Mallory's body. To our knowledge, he said nothing about Wang dying with the ice axe.
(Nor did we ask that.)
Could he have picked up a camera? Maybe an oxygen Rack? Who knows what
A. EverestNews.com: Of course no one know knows.
[Question continued]: This brings up my second
puzzlement. I keep hearing about Mallory & Irving discarding their
oxygen apparatus's somewhere on the mountain. I can't imagine them
discarding this as they would need them for their triumphant decent down the
mountain wouldn't they? Did anyone you interviewed, that saw Irving's
body, mention oxygen racks?
A. EverestNews.com: No, so where are they?
Actually the much bigger
question is, where is George's oxygen rack?
Is it NOT on the ledge
below George Mallory. We were there, it is NOT there.
Of course it was mentioned that Irvine was positioned on his back which could
make this impossible to see. It seems that the Chinese expeditions
picked up, took, and moved things around quite a bit up there.
Clearly the Chinese were picking things up.
Q. You state that the next
trip will not be searching for bodies. What are you searching for?
A. EverestNews.com: Evidence that
Mallory summited Mt Everest.
What side of the
mountain is that snow on? ©EverestNews.com
We ask that you hold your questions for now
as we have more Q&A to post,
but feedback and thoughts are always welcome at EverestNews.com
We went to Mount Everest in search of an answer.
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