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  Everest 2004: Mallory and Irvine The Final Chapter: The Team's Theory

So let's forget about what we or Tom Holzel or anyone else theorizes; let’s look at what the team who went to the mountain believes.


Based on testimony from a climber who discovered “an old dead”, it was hard not to conclude that he discovered Sandy Irvine. We interviewed this climber further before we went to Everest. Some of his words were that he came across a “very old dead.” It was in a very exposed area, “unsafe to go further this way.”

In another interview he stated the body was “leaning like this” as he leaned to his left and put his hands up to the left side of his head and pulled his knees towards his chest. He also said that he was on “lot of snow” (i.e., a snow slab, not on rock). This would make sense if the “old” person were on a steep area, trying to protect himself from the wind and cold, leaning into the mountain trying to use the snow to shield himself.

"Yes, we were confident in finding Sandy Irvine. We had researched thoroughly the history and interviewed many experienced mountaineers. A real live climber was telling us he saw a body that could only be Sandy"

He also said that if something fell from this area there is nothing to stop its fall. Whatever fell would wind up at 6000 meters or below. “It is very steep here”, very exposed and the fall line is uninterrupted, no obstructions at all. He marked the location on a map for us. He stated he did not see the face.

Update 8/12/2004:  The Team's Theory

The team believes that they climbed to the location where the climber said he had found "an old dead" body years earlier. Our source stated he had discovered a “very old body” dressed in “army-colored clothes” lying on a slab at an off-route location. This location was above 8400 meters. When our climbers got to the location, they found an old oxygen bottle from the 20's or 30's, but no body. They believe that this old dead body may had been discovered years earlier—perhaps by the Chinese and when he was found then, the climber changed his own oxygen bottle and left it by the body. Or the bottle had to belong to the old dead climber. They believe the snow slab that the old dead body rested on all of those years gave way at some point and that the body would have fallen to the area below.

Also, after seeing numerous other dead bodies on Everest, our team believes it would be impossible that George Mallory fell from the ridge on Everest, or even as high as the yellow band, based on comparing his injuries to those of other climbers.

Our climbers state they are "sure", this is the location described to them by the climber who saw the “very old dead.” We had the team revisit the location to double-check, but no body was found at that location.

But the real question of the day is: Did our climbers find the resting spot of Sandy Irvine's body for several decades?

Sandy Irvine, (member of the Oxford University winning Boat Race crew) 1923 © The Sandy Irvine Trust, UK.  Not to be reproduced without permission.

Next: What if the climber is right?

We went to Mount Everest in search of an answer.


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