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  Everest 2004: Mallory and Irvine The Final Chapter: Q&A Part 1


Q. Is it possible from Noel Odell's position, that he saw Mallory & Irvine climbing up somewhere near the ridge but actually a little lower than the ridge? Perhaps somewhere in between the First and Second Step?

A. EverestNews.com: In the great Odell debate, everyone has an opinion. We have chosen not to study it, therefore we don't really have an opinion. However, we think many are confused about how climbers climb the "Second Step," or what the "Second Step" really is. As you can see in the picture below from our 2004 expedition, the "Second Step is high up on the ridge above the climbers, the climbers actually climb the face of the mountain around the second step. This area is called the "Second Step". More confused? We hope not.

The above picture is a partial ZOOM Frame of film from an area below the second step. ©EverestNews.com

EverestNews.com: Continued: It is not known if Mallory and Irvine were on the ridge and if George and Sandy attempted the "true second step" or if they dropped down from the ridge after crossing the First Step to take the route that today's climbers do. As you can see, climbers today do not go over the "true second step" on the ridge, but rather climb an open book up to the NE Ridge.

Q. Is there any chance at all now of finding Sandy Irvine or the camera if he fell with the snow slab above 8400 meters ?

A. EverestNews.com: Our climbers believe he would have fallen all the way down. However, it is not impossible that his body might have stopped.

Q. [Where] Does the fall line end from the estimated snow slab site?

A.  EverestNews.com: Our climbers estimate 6300 meters at the head of the Rongbuk Glacier. The heavy snow that accumulates in that bowl means he would have been deeply buried and carried down by the glacier.  At the standard flow, his body might have traveled as far as the opening to the East Rongbuk Glacier.

Q. I am guessing that if this occurred that it would be too dangerous of an area to search and the camera and film would have been destroyed in a long fall.

A. EverestNews.com: Nothing on that face is too dangerous for the right climbers with he right equipment in the right conditions. We are sure that should we release the location, or if the family ever releases the location, numerous searches would occur down the fall line, that seems certain.

What is not certain, is whether or not the camera would have been destroyed. If we compare the relatively short fall of WU, the Chinese climber, one would quickly determine, that Sandy's body and the equipment would have been destroyed. However, there are few bodies, if any, to compare this possible fall with. When we compare with modern climbers deaths, in most cases we see climbers who only fell a few feet. Based on these climbers injuries again, we would determine Sandy's body would have been completely shattered had it fallen that far.

However, a search for the camera would result based on the possibility that the camera would have been lost on the way down.

Q. Why there is so little information about the 1924 cylinders? What happened to them?

A. EverestNews.com: We would love to know! We are trying to patch together bits and pieces, but things are going slow. Maybe in a few months we can update you with new information.

We hope to break the code of these marking with the help of our friends, however we will see. We have a very long way to go. There appears to be much to learn here, for example, could other members have bought their own oxygen on their expedition?

Q. Reading the story of Mallory's life, it's obvious he was a heck of a climber.  What is behind the thinking that Mallory lacked the talent to conquer the 2nd step?  Conrad conquered it in about the same amount of time as in Odell's observations.

A. EverestNews.com: Who was better Hank or the Babe? Seriously, it is very hard to know. However in a few weeks we hope to publish our theory. "Our Theory", is that George Mallory summited Mt Everest. So maybe he had the talent.

Q. Is your search over? 

A. EverestNews.com: We honestly and sincerely hope so. However at least two of our private team members seem to have caught the "fever", causing them to want to go back. Let's hope it passes.

We can tell you this; if we do back no one will know about it until after we return.

Q. If not, are you setting up a place where people like me can contribute?

A. EverestNews.com: We spent thousands of dollars on the expedition, but we are not looking for checks from our readers to recover that money. Support for those who supported our expedition would be very appreciated, see here for our sponsors of the expedition. Your support is appreciated.

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  

We went to Mount Everest in search of an answer.


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