Left: George Mallory and Andrew Irvine © RGS/The Sandy Irvine Trust, from "Ghosts of Everest" ; Right: 1924 North Face locations © Pete Poston
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"I'm quite doubtful if I shall be fit enough. But again I wonder if the monsoon will give us a chance. I don't want to get caught, but our three-day scheme from the Chang La will give the monsoon a good chance. We shall be going up again the day after tomorrow. Six days to the top from this camp!"

--from George Mallory's last letter to his wife prior to disappearing on Mt. Everest with his partner Andrew "Sandy" Irvine in 1924

"My face is in perfect agony. Have prepared two oxygen apparatus for our start tomorrow morning".

- Sandy Irvine's last diary entry

History of Mount Everest from 1903 - 1975 (copyright © 2005)

Reference: "Everest" 3rd ed, by Walt Unsworth

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1953: British Expedition and FIRST SUMMIT. Led by Colonel John Hunt and consisting of climbers Dr. R.C. Evans, G. Band, T. Bourdillon, A. Gregory, Edmund Hillary, W.G. Lowe, C. Noyce, M.P. Ward, M. Westmacott, and C.G. Wylie. Returning as Sirdar from the Swiss attempts is yet again Tenzing Norgay. The route through the Icefall is completed by April 22, Camp VI is established at the foot of the Lhotse face at 23,000 feet (7000 meters), and after a lengthy delay, the South Col is reached via the Lhotse Face route pioneered by the Swiss the year before.

May 26: First Assault by Evans and Bourdillon from the South Col using closed-circuit oxygen sets. The same day Hunt leads a party of Sherpas from the South Col with the intent to establish Camp IX on the SE Ridge for the second assault party consisting of Hillary and Tenzing. Evans and Bourdillon reach the South Summit at 1 PM at an elevation of 28,750 feet (8770 meters), but are forced to descend due to the lateness of the hour, strong winds, and lack of oxygen.

May 29: Second Assault by Hillary and Tenzing using open-circuit oxygen sets. They leave Camp IX at approximately 27,900 feet (8500 meters) by 6:30 AM, and reach the S. Summit by 9 AM. After negotiating the 40 foot (12 meter) Hillary Step, they are the first to reach the summit of Everest, reaching the top at 11:30 AM. After descending to the South Col, they are met by George Lowe where Hillary states: "Well, George, we knocked the bastard off!"

1955: The height of Everest is adjusted by 26 feet to 29,028 feet (8848 meters).

1956: Swiss Everest/Lhotse Expedition led by A. Eggler with W. Diehl, H. Grimm, Dr E. Leuchtold, F. Luchsinger, J. Marmet, F. Muller, E. Reiss, A. Reist, E. Schmied, H. Von Gunten and Sirdar Pasang Dawa Lama. The South Col was reached by the middle of May, and a successful summit bid was done on Lhotse via the very difficult North ridge on May 18 by Reiss and Von Gunten. On May 23 from a high camp at 27,500 feet (8400 meters) on the SE Ridge, Schmied and Marmet also reach the summit.

1958: Joint Chinese/Russian reconnaissance from the North that reaches 21,000 feet (6,400 meters) below the North Col. The plan was for the two countries to return later for a joint assault, but this expedition never materialized after relations between the two states deteriorate.

1960: Chinese and Tibetan team of 214 men and women, led by Shih Chan- chun, makes the first summit of Everest via the North Col and Northeast Ridge. Long doubted by Western mountaineers because of the lack of a summit photo and the claim of summiting at night, the photos and film the Chinese did release reveal that they at least climbed the Second Step, the key to the route (although Reinhold Messner claims he possesses documentation proving they didn't climb it, so far this evidence has not been produced). The final assault party of Wang Fu-chou, Liu Lien-man, Chu Yin-hua, and the Tibetan Gonbu (also known as Gonpa) assaulted the final 15 foot (5 meter) Second Step headwall using pitons and team tactics. After Liu Lien- man repeatedly falls off attempting to lead the pitch, Chu Yin-hua takes off his boots and socks, and using a shoulder stand climbs the last vertical pitch in bare feet! Exhausted by his effort, Liu Lien- man is forced to halt at 28,600 feet (8,700 meters), but the remaining three climbers make it to the summit where they purportedly leave a plaster bust of Chairman Mao by a rock outcrop.

1960: First Indian Expedition led by Brigadier G. Singh. Climbers Capt. N. Kumar, Sonam Gyatso, and Sherpa Nawang Gombu reach 28,300 feet (8625 meters) just below the South Summit before retreating in a violent storm and driving snow.

1962: Illegal four-man expedition led by the American Woodrow Wilson Sayre following the pre-war British route up the North Col and NE Ridge. Possessing a permit to climb Gyanchung Kang from the Nepalese side, the party ascends the Ngozumpa Icefall with Sherpa support, but then surreptitiously crosses the Nup La into Tibet. Without porters and relying on a grueling schedule of load-shuttling that covers the same ground three times daily, the group reaches the base of the North Col in nineteen days. They climb the North Col, but a fall lands Sayre and partner Roger Hart in a crevasse where they survive the night by wrapping themselves up in a tent. Undeterred, Sayre and Norman Hansen set off the very next day up the North Ridge, but can only climb 1,200 feet (400 meters) in the next two days. Realizing that they are beaten, they turn back but Sayre slips and falls 600 feet (200 meters) down the North Ridge snowfield before stopping. Incredibly, the now emaciated and half-starved expedition is able to return back over the Nup La into Nepal without encountering Chinese patrols.

1962: Second Indian Expedition with Major John Dias as leader. Returning to the SE Ridge route, climbers Sonam Gyatso, Hari Dang, and Mohan Kohli are forced to retreat from a high point of 28,600 feet (8720 meters) because of bad weather.

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News

If you're a devoted Mallory and Irvine fan, please visit my Mallory and Irvine forum.

New articles!

congratulations to the visitor from Seattle, WA who visited at 02:13:42 PM, Wed May 29. You are the 100,000th visitor to my webpage!

Spring 2013

According to the Huffington Post, super climbers Ueli Steck and Simon Moro, while attempting a new route on the SW Face of Everest, got into a fight with the Sherpas fixing ropes up the Lhotse Face. Here is Simon Moro's response given in an interview with Planet Mountain.

This is big news, indeed. In Graham Hoyland's new book (which you can pre-order on Amazon), he reveals that there was a sighting of Mallory in 1933, which has been kept a family secret all of these years. Check out this interview here

No news about any searches for Irvine this year, although there are always things brewing under the radar.

Jochen Hemmleb's documentary of his 2010 search for Irvine is now available with English translation.

The first fatality of the year - Everest icefall doctor Mingmar Sherpa was killed when he fell into a crevasse in the Western Cwn.

It was bound to happen. Using Google Earth, you can now trek to Mount Everest as viewed from street level. Google has also announced in the past that they plan to use climbers to photograph the way all the way to the summit.

Mark Horrell is an British climber who climbed the Northeast Ridge of Mount Everest in 2012. He has a great blog where he explains why he believes Mallory and Irvine summited in 1924. Horrell is also the author of numerous Kindle books about the history of the Himalaya which you can download from Amazon.com. Highly recommended reading.

Fall 2011

The politics of Mallory and Irvine continues - the British climbing establishment is quiet about Hemmleb's search but Holzel's is roundly condemned.

Spring 2011

Hemmleb has been spotted in Kathmandu, and will be searching again even though he says they won't be. He said the same thing last year, and we know how that turned out.

According to KSL.com, Graham Hoyland is searching this year as well.

UPDATE: Hemmleb is at Advanced Base Camp (ABC) on the North side with lots of heavy video cameras.

UPDATE: Hemmleb failed to find Irvine this year.

UPDATED - 4/19/11

The results of Hemmleb's 2010 search expedition were unsuccessful, and here is a map of where he looked (look for the Big and Little Cracks on the ridgecrest). Hemmleb also has posted his latest theories on his webpage, as well as some complaining about criticism.

Fall 2010

Who owns the camera? Who has the copyright to any images? Read these great articles on Tom Holzel's website.

Attention searchers! - Tom Holzel tells you how to handle the film

Did bad weather seal M&I's Fate? A recent article based on the actual weather conditions on June 8th, 1924, and Graham Hoyland's involvement with it.

Jake Norton - outstanding M&I theorist and historian. Read his blog here, and his three part theory of how M&I could have made the summit!

>> Spring 2004
>> Spring 2006
>> Fall 2006
>> Spring 2007
>> Summer 2008
>> Spring 2009
>> Summer 2009
>> Fall 2009
>> Winter 2010
>> Spring 2010
>> Fall 2010


 

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Articles and Editorials

Harvey V. Lankford, MD, has written a paper documenting the origin of the term "Glacier Lassitude" as a diagnosis for the debilitating effect of altitude as experienced by members of the early British Everest expeditions.

My new theory about Mallory and Irvine's last climb, where I believe Odell's sighting was erroneous, and have them taking the Couloir route instead.

Part 1: the ascent
Part 2: the descent

Warwick Pryce is a new researcher who has arrived on the scene, and he has a new theory about how Andrew Irvine could have been the first person to stand on the top of the world.

Wim Kohsiek has a new interpretation of what Mallory's altimeter can tell us based on scientific applications of meterology.

Mallory and Irvine researcher Wim Kohsiek has two new thought-provoking articles about Mallory's watch and Irvine's location:

Mallory's Watch - Does it Really Point to 12:50 PM?

1924 Oxygen by Richard McQuet and Pete Poston

Why the Camera and Film are not Doomed to Destruction!

The Politics of Mallory and Irvine

Why Andrew Irvine Will Not be Found in a Sleeping Bag! Part 1 and Part 2 on ExplorersWeb

Chomolungma Nirvana: The Routes of Mount Everest

Rust Marks on Mallory's Altimeter

Mystery of Mallory and Irvine's Fate Google Earth Tour - my own ideas in 3-D with audio!

Little Known Free-Solo Ascent of the Second Step in 2001 by Theo Fritsche - I should never have written this - Anker and Houlding deserve credit for the first free ascent

Criticisms of the 2004 EverestNews.com search for Irvine --

The Mystery of Mallory and Irvine's Fate (with J. Hemmleb): Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.

Mallory and Irvine - Comments on the 'real Second Step' route: Part 1 and Part 2

Conrad Anker's comments on the unlikeliness of a direct route up the prow of the 2nd Step

Articles about my heroes Walter Bonatti and Chris Bonington --

Spilling the Beans - Lino Lacedelli's Book "Price of Conquest: Confessions from the First Ascent of K2" Part 1 and Part 2

The Life and Climbs of Chris Bonington, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 final - interview

About Me

Celebrating my 50th birthday on pitch 3 of Prodigal Son, Zion National Park, Utah

In my free time, I love to photograph and hike the spectacular redrock wilderness of the Colorado Plateau - please visit my Colorado Plateau Homepage.

And for most of my life I've been fascinated with the history, people, and culture of the Himalayas and Karakoram - browse my Mount Everest Trek (1996), Overland Journey from Kathmandu to Lhasa (2000), and K2 Base Camp Trek (2007) webpages.

As for my employment, I work for Western Oregon University where I have been a Professor of Chemistry for the last 20 years. My research interests are in applications of Laser Raman Spectroscopy to such diverse fields as Nanotechnology, Analytical Chemistry, and even a bit of Achaeology through the study of rock art pigments found in the Colorado Plateau. You can access my academic webpage here.