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 Graham Hoyland and the BBC

Graham Hoyland and the BBC returned to Everest in Spring 2000 in search of in search of Andrew Irvine and the camera lost in the 1924 expedition. For anyone who does not know, Graham's role is a little different than many climbers, in that, he is an employee of the BBC. Graham is a producer for the BBC. Graham officially announced the Expedition in his lecture Unraveling the Mystery of George Mallory in Washington D.C. 

Graham Hoyland Q&A 7/19/2000 on his Mallory & Irvine 2000 Expedition !

Q.) What did you find? We got bits and pieces on the web site, but please give us details.

A.) [Graham Hoyland] Russell and I failed miserably to find anything on Everest this spring. Just as our 1999 trip had abnormal weather, this spring seemed unusual in the amount of snow, wind and cold. One of the locals said it was the worst he'd seen in 20 years. What was interesting is that we flew very close to the mountain on our way to Lhasa, and at that point (late March) it was black and fairly snow-free. This would suggest that it's very hard to predict what weather you're going to have until you actually get there. We even had to raft across the glacier-lake on the way back! In the moraine I found yards of the telephone wire that was laid from ABC up to the North Col by the British pre-war. 

Russell gave me some tent poles (cane and hardwood) with copper sleeves, some green tent canvas and some guy-lines with wooden tighteners. He'd found these over the years and stashed them in his cave at one of the high camps. But the best thing he gave me was an unopened hand-soldered food-can which still contains some mystery food. Any bright ideas on how to find out what's in it without opening it? Beans, I guess. All this stuff looks '20's or '30's. So there you have it: we went out there and came back with a can of beans. I'm sure Sandy would find it funny, too. 

Q.) Did you get to search the area where you were hoping ?

A.) [Graham  Hoyland]  No, it dumped with snow so deep that we couldn't get through it, and if we had reached the area there was too much snow cover to find anything, despite the fact that we had metal detectors with us. 

Q.) Could you tell us if your latest expedition was able to locate the remains of the 1924  Camp 6 ?

A.) [Graham Hoyland]   No, for the same reasons as above.

Q.) What do you know about reports that the camp was moved higher up by  M&I as told to Capt. John Noel by Lakpa Sherpa?

A.) [Graham Hoyland] Interesting theory...but Audrey Salkeld suggests that perhaps what he saw was Mallory setting off in the early afternoon of the 7th to do a recce for the next day's summit attempt.  

Q.)  Why do you think there have been numerous expeditions to remove trash, but none to remove or bury bodies? 

A.) [Graham Hoyland]  I think many of the so-called "clean-up" expeditions are in fact excuses to raise money to get on the mountain. Russell and his clients  found themselves clearing up 20 yak-loads of rubbish left at ABC after an expedition had left for home. They had picked up some oxygen  bottles, which are clean and easily sold back at home. 

Q.) I am truly fascinated by the entire Mallory/Irvine mystique. Thank you for the wonderful job you have personally done in attempting to answer some of  the numerous questions about George Mallory and Sandy Irvine's attempt at  the summit on June 8, 1924. 

I have not heard too much about John Noel's involvement in that expedition. I do understand he was the official cinematographer and filmaker for the 1924 Mt. Everest Expedition and if not for him offering to put up a great sum of money the expedition might not have happened that year. My question has to do with the postcards he created and sent from Rongbuk Glacier Base Camp, Mt. Everest during the expedition to advertise his film of the expedition which was to be shown in the Scala Theatre, London in November 1924. I have also read somewhere that John Noel and George Mallory shared a tent together either at base camp or further up the mountain at one of the lower camp sites. Would George Mallory, Sandy Irvine or any of the other climbers including your great-uncle, Howard Somervell, have helped Noel in addressing any of the postcards that were sent out? 

A.) [Graham Hoyland]  I'm sure they would. Careful comparison of handwriting would be an interesting exercise. You'll find examples of Mallory's handwriting in the many books on the '20's expeditions.   

Q.) I am in possession of one of the original postcards which happened to be  mailed to an individual in Holland in June 1924 and obviously I would  appreciate any information you could provide about these wonderful  postcards.

A.)  [Graham Hoyland]  Our BBC expedition of 1990 had the same postcards printed up- it's a lovely and unusual angle on Everest. Sandra Noel might know more. 

Q.) What is next ? do you go back ? 

A.) [Graham Hoyland]  I don't know...when I was there I thought I'm wasting my time....I worked out .... I've spent a year of my life living on that mountain. But it keeps drawing you back. Why? I can't say. Family connections, habit, the mystery. Some affection, too. It's an arena  where you see human beings at the ragged edge of their lives. The mountain brings out the very best and very worst in people. You see men behaving like heroes and like villains. You see violent death and some of the most beautiful things on earth.   

Q.) What is your current theory on what happened that day? 

A.) [Graham Hoyland]   I think Mallory fell off, and they died. 

Graham Hoyland

All Mallory 

1.) Eric Simonson Everest Guide and leader of the Mallory & Irvine Expedition answered Questions from the staff and Our EverestNews.com Insiders members. Eric has been guiding professionally since 1973. Eric's climbing resume in the U.S. includes 16 ascents of Mt. McKinley and over 260 ascents of Mt. Rainier. He summited Mt. Everest via the North Ridge in 1991. He was, of course, the leader of this year Expedition which found the body of Mallory...

Eric Simonson's Complete Q&A on the Mallory findings

3.) The Books

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