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  Everest 2004: Mallory and Irvine The Final Chapter: Q&A Part 5


Q. How could only Irvine's body [have] disappeared when [the] ice slab gave away and [the] oxygen cylinder remained there?

A. EverestNews.com: Our source 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). He did not notice any oxygen bottle. 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.  The climber's theory is the snow slab gave away with all the ice and snow that has been melting off the mountain.  When we got there, we found no body, and only this oxygen bottle. Presumably, the body and the bottle were separated by a few yards or more. Note there was no apparatus with the bottle.

Q. What does Sandy's location tell us about M&I's last day?  Can you speculate with more authority about their routes, both up and down; how high they might have gotten; how Sandy could have ended up where he did (and George where he did)?

A. EverestNews.com: We believe Sandy's location could tell us much, especially when one considers the location of George Mallory... More on this soon.

Q. I'm intrigued. Are you basing your belief that the 2 men separated, because Irvine is believed to have been found by your source at 8400 meters and Mallory is at 8100?

A. EverestNews.com: Yes, The location of George Mallory's body is a matter of record. If it is determined that Sandy died above 8400 meters, then we believe that is a significant new piece in the whole M&I  puzzle.

Q. If they did separate, why the rope trailing from George's body?

A. EverestNews.com: We have seen the video of George Mallory being dug up. George Mallory's body was partially buried in the ground. How do you have "a rope trailing from George's body", when the man is partially buried in the ground?  It does show a few wraps of rope haphazardly around the body. While it is true he had a rope around him, we could not determine anymore from that.

Q. What of Wang's sighting? He found Mallory? Perhaps but then, what of the hole in the cheek and position of the body? He turned it over before putting snow on it to bury it; a la Holzel? Nagh! If he'd been face up or even side on, those goraks would have pecked his face away and they didn't. Therefore, he always was face down. I don't know where that leaves Wang. Maybe he was gone for more than 20 minutes, but would he go to 8400?

A. EverestNews.com: The problem with all the “Wang didn’t find Mallory” theories is that they introduce much bigger flaws than the minor one of the hole being in Mallory’s forehead rather than his cheek.  If Mallory was essentially completely buried until shortly before Wang found him, then the Goraks wouldn’t have got to him.

Q. Are there, or have there been other deads up there? Maybe Russians??? What about what Eric Simonson was told in Bejing? Another body lying in a gully this time, inside a sleeping bag.

A. EverestNews.com: History says there are 3 older dead bodies assumed to be up there above 8000 meters: George, Sandy and Wu Tseng-yue. Wu and George are now known locations. Sandy, as you can tell, we have been working on. See here for more: Mallory and Irvine The Final Chapter: Everest North Slope Fatalities through 1985

See earlier comments on our opinion on the sleeping bag.

Q. What interests me is the question – how would Mallory signal to us that he had reached the top, assuming he knew he might not make it back?  It doesn’t appear he had a pencil or pen to write a note (on the margins of one of the letters perhaps).

A. Tom Holzel: Mallory did not leave for his summit assault with any other idea in his mind than Irvine would take a photograph of him holding his custom-made altimeter in his hand, showing 29,000-ft and Makalu in the background.  Once in extremis, your entire mind goes on emergency footing, trying to stay alive and get back.  Thoughts of writing farewells to loved ones do not occur to doomed climbers until all downward motion is exhausted. Mallory was still moving downward when he slipped.

Q. Could he have left a spare pair of sunglasses or something else in his possession at the summit, perhaps buried in the snow?  Tenzing left some personal/religious items at the summit in 1953.  I have this vision of Mallory, knowing he is not going to make it down, trying to find a way to tell us he made it to the top.  Was there something in his possession before the climb that we don’t find on the body that would signal he had left it at the top or close to it?

I’ve been enamored with the Mallory mystery for over 50 years now.  He would have kept going until he reached the top, even it meant dying.  But he would, in my view, find a way to signal to us that he made it.  It’s still possible we are missing the signal. Thank you for you efforts to solve the mystery

A. EverestNews.com: Sure he could have left something. Recall that the picture was not found on his body, could it be that the picture was left on the summit? Unfortunately, the summit of Everest is a glacial cap of snow that is constantly being blown away and replenished.  Thus items buried there slowly work there way down the Kangshung side. The 1975 Chinese tripod was photographed sticking out of the Kangshung face about 20 yards below the summit.

Q. Hello- I was wondering what are some supplies that you could have not lived with out while climbing Mount Everest?

A. EverestNews.com: Many, food, water, gas, oxygen, proper climbing equipment etc, etc... We hired good people to provide those supplies and were very happy with what we got.

Q. Is there any connection to the presumed location of Sandy Irvine on the old snow slab and the fall line of George Mallory?

A. EverestNews.com: If you believe Sandy is the "old dead" as we have been discussing here, then Sandy is NOT on, what is referred to as "George Mallory's fall line". Again, as we have stated we don't believe George fell from up there, based on the relatively minor injuries to his body.

Q. Enjoying the Q&A's. Will really look forward to your theory.  Though you answered nearly every question I sent, still not clear about the camera. You thought you would find it, because you figured it must be on Sandy (and you knew where Sandy was)...or because the climber (or someone else) thought they saw the camera or other artifacts close by? Someone else commended you guys for the great job.  I second the motion!

A. EverestNews.com: We had no knowledge of a camera location before we went to Everest, just locations of possible old dead bodies.

Q. On the oxygen bottle you found: do you know what the bottles from the 1930's expeditions look like?  Seems like the only other possible source, if the bottle was not Sandy's.  I take it there were no deaths high on the mountain during those expeditions, that could account for what the climber you interviewed saw?

A. EverestNews.com: We know in general what they are supposed to look like. We have been supplied with pictures of the 30's bottles which the Chinese have. Those 2 bottles appear to have no markings. However, we don't have the facts that we would like. The facts we would like are: How many of each kind and size were taken to the mountain, in what year were they manufactured, what year were they taken to Everest??? We also would like to decipher the key to the numbering system on the bottles. To us, there is a "key to these markings" out these somewhere. All people seem to have, is some opinions and a few facts. We want more!

For deaths see our earlier comments.

Q. Another question occurred to me.  Does Sandy's location -- or any of what you found there -- give any insights about what Odell saw or didn't see?  Assuming he saw M&I, which IMO is not certain, various theories put them anywhere from the 1st step to the 3rd. 

A. EverestNews.com: If you assume the old dead is Sandy, it might lead to more speculation that Odell saw them between the first and second step with George then going over the Second step....

Q. If Odell really saw M&I at the 1st step, it is hard to imagine Mallory [could have] summited. Climbing the 2nd step is very possible.  The 3rd step, almost sure thing.  But you guys don't believe Sandy got above the 2nd step. Again, I don' expect any answers to these questions.  Hopefully more food for thought.

A. EverestNews.com: Based on the location of where the "old dead" was seen, and the location of George Mallory's body, you are right we don't believe Sandy got over the second step. But maybe he helped George....

Q. As Irvine was inexperienced, why would Mallory not stayed with him?

A. EverestNews.com: Perhaps because they both could not have gotten over the second step, therefore George went alone?

Q. Does this suggest Mallory struck off on his own?

A. EverestNews.com: The location suggest to us, that Mallory did indeed head off on his own at some point.

Q. Realizing it was late, did Mallory try for the summit alone, and not risk Irvine to the likely danger?

A. EverestNews.com: We think they would have thought it was early and not late. Yes, our theory is Mallory did try for the summit alone, and that Sandy stayed behind.

Q.  From the likely scenes of each one's fall, do you believe they were more or less traveling together in the same direction?

A. EverestNews.com: We believe they were traveling together and then separated at some point. The two most likely locations to have separated would be at the First Step sparing Sandy the dangerous, unroped traverse to the Second Step. Or perhaps they got to the Second Step together with Sandy giving George a boost up it before turning back on his own....  ....(note: we don't believe that Sandy Irvine fell to his death;  also we don't think George Mallory fell very far.)

Q. Is it possible, from the descriptions of the "old dead" huddled against the mountain, that Sandy was attempting a desperate bivouac as night fell on him? Great work! Greatly appreciate your effort!

A. EverestNews.com: Yes. Quiet possibly waiting for his friend who never returned...

Q. I have some questions regarding the Mallory and Irvine Mystery.

1-If we assume that the bottle you found was Mallory's or Sandy's, is it far away enough from the bottle found in 1999 to link them somehow?

A. EverestNews.com: We are not sure how distance from the 1999 bottle would link them. Especially since no one is sure how many bottles they took, or even for sure that they only took the one size bottle. But the bottle we found is not of the type commonly believed to have been taken by the 1924 crew.  It looks much more like the bottles taken in the 1930’s.

The other problem is, and we hope we are not stepping on anyone's toes here, but the exact location where the 1999 bottle is not certain. We have been told that there is confusion about if they found 1 or 2 bottles in 1999 (only one was brought down), and the specific location on the find is in question. Climbers have different memories. Different memories of events on Everest are common, and should NOT be interpreted as anything more than that.

Q. 2- Can't the bottle be identified with the notes on Mallory's letters as one of the bottles the pair used for their summit attempt? (as done with the 99 bottle)

A. EverestNews.com: Not at this time.

Q. 3- can the bottle found be used to determinate if they followed the ridge or a lower line?

A. EverestNews.com: Yes, the ridge route if you assume the bottle was M&I's or if you assume that the bottle was found in Sandy's place of death, neither of which is proven today.

We should (some questions are never asked!) state that there was other possible evidence in the form of a photograph of an object. Possibly a container that points to the "old dead's" location. However the object was far enough from the "old dead" that it might not be related. But the object, which is clearly man made, was in a location where "history says" few if any climbers were ever at. If this object were a M&I artifact then it would add to the probability of the "old dead" being Sandy. We did not find the photograph of the object until after our climbers were off the mountain in 2004. Therefore, we don't know if the object is still on the mountain.

Q.  4- According to your source, and based on Wang's testimony, it is hard to conclude that they [who are they?] saw different bodies, and now that Mallory and Wu were found, it is clear that they [who are they?] came across Sandy. 

A. EverestNews.com: We are sorry, please submit this one. We are not sure what you are asking for sure... Everyone here reads the question differently.

Q.  Next, when you go up there and look for it, it is mysteriously gone, and you claim it could have slipped downhill. But if the body was there [earlier] and when your source came across it, why would it have slipped downhill in recent years, [now] with lesser snow?

A. EverestNews.com: We think we covered the theory of the body slipping downhill earlier and it is fact that Everest is melting away. The reason the body we sought may have slipped just recently is because Everest, too, is experiencing global warming, and there is less and less permanent snow on the mountain each year.

Q. By the way, Mallory and Wu have not slipped downhill, they were found where they died.

A. EverestNews.com: Not sure how or what you know about Wu, since we are pretty sure we are the only people who have seen Wu since the year he died. And we will tell you, if others have seen Wu's body, they would not have forgotten!!!

How do you or us or anyone else know if Wu or Mallory slipped downhill? In Wu's case he was on very steep ground and laying "up" on the ground. Therefore, most people would speculate his body could very well be still moving downhill. Did it? Of course no one knows.

George, of course, was found partially buried in the ground, but that does not mean that it is not possible he died up hill and slipped to that location before being buried by accumulating scree.  Hard to say.

Dead bodies of some of "modern climbers" from the last 2-8 years are moving down the mountain. Now is this all natural movement? In some cases Sherpas have been told to move dead bodies off the route. It is very hard to determine, but we would speculate that some of the current bodies have moved on their own based on pictures climbers have submitted to us of dead climbers in the past and locations of those same bodies in 2004. Some of the bodies clearly appear to be moving downhill...

Q. Isn't it more probable that you simply missed Sandy, and he is still up there somewhere?

A. EverestNews.com: After the climbers went to the location and found the bottle and not the body, we asked that they go back for another whole day and look at the location. The location is NOT very large, they reported they found nothing else. So far, we don't see any "body" in the pictures.

Q. 5-If we are sure that Mallory returned following a much more lower line than the ridge, why has nobody searched there? Thanks for everything.

A. EverestNews.com: We are not sure that he followed a lower line. We believe he followed the ridge.

Others have searched other locations, we searched other locations. When you don't find what you are looking for, you sometimes go other places. Much of Everest has now been searched...

An old fashioned Q&A. We have one more set to put up... Then we think it would be best to publish our theory and maybe we can do a short Q&A after that, so if you can hold those additional questions for now.

We went to Mount Everest in search of an answer.


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