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
News Spring 2004 - Searches for Irvine
EverestNews.com unsuccessfully searched for Irvine in the Spring of 2004 when his body wasn't found at a secret location given to them by a secret source. So far they haven't proven that anything they found was directly related to Mallory and Irvine, including fibers and a prewar oxygen bottle. Nevertheless, they have a theory that you can read on their website.
For detailed criticism of the EverestNews.com theory and an alternative theory, see a five-part series of articles written by Pete Poston and Jochen Hemmleb on ExplorersWeb.com - here's Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5. Jochen Hemmleb has also made critical remarks about the EverestNews.com 2004 interview of Xu Jing.
You can read further critiques (Part 1 and Part 2) of their unsupported claim that somehow Mallory climbed the rotten, vertical prow of the 2nd Step instead of the standard route, as well as Conrad Anker's comments on the unlikeliness of this alternative route. Jochen Hemmleb analyzed the only known photo of the 2nd Step taken at the time of Mallory and Irvine's attempt, revealing that a large cornice was overhanging the Prow of the 2nd Step, making it highly doubtful that any direct route would have been feasible at that time.
IMG had their own mini-search on the mountain at the same time. Eric Simonson's wrote about it in the 2004 Journal of the American Alpine Club. Jake Norton and Dave Hahn were able to cover large parts of the Yellow Band, as well as the area beow the Northeast Shoulder, for traces of Irvine. During this expedition, Jake Norton discovered yet another 1960 Chinese camp halfway up the 1st Step. From his perspective, Norton believes Mallory and Irvine could have climbed the NE Ridge directly up the 1st Step to where it intersects the normal route.
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.
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:
1924 Oxygen by Richard McQuet and Pete Poston
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 --
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 --
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.