Map showing the location where Xu Jing
said he saw a body in 1960. ©EverestNews.com
we called last year's expedition, "Mallory and Irvine The Final Chapter: The
retrieval of the camera". You might have noticed about half way into the
expedition we dropped the part about "The retrieval of the camera". Not
because we believed the camera couldn't be found. We no longer believed the
camera would solve the mystery or whether George Mallory made the summit of Mt
expedition, we believed what we had been told over the years: that the camera
may hold photographs which could show if Mallory and Irvine summited Everest
in 1924. However, our sources told us there was an old body up high up on the
ridge of Everest. This made us wonder. How could Sandy die high on the ridge,
but George died much lower on the mountain, and Sandy had the camera with the
summit shot? It didn't make sense.
On June 8,
1924 Mallory & Irvine were spotted from below going over one of the last major
obstacles of their route. The summit of Mt. Everest was only a few hours
away. Swirling mists closed in. They were never seen again. Their
disappearance left unanswered a question that has haunted mountaineers ever
since: did they reach the top?
the Mallory and Irvine research expedition found Mallory's body at around 8100
meters. But that was not the first time someone had found Mallory. The Chinese
found his body decades earlier, in 1975. Xu Jing says, "We saw the body of
Mallory in 1975". While some did not believe the Chinese, they published this
information widely: mainly in Chinese articles, but also in reports to Ms
Hawley. For example Samdrup, one of the 1975 Summiters, wrote to Ms Hawley in
1996 that the Chinese found a body at 8100 meters. The Chinese were clearly
Chinese also state they found Sandy Irvine on the ridge of Everest in 1960
(see the map above). While many again do not believe the Chinese, we believe
them. They gave us too many corroborative facts not to believe them.
Furthermore, climbers who came after the first Chinese climbers saw a body on
the ridge too.
Chinese found Sandy in 1960. In EverestNews.com's exclusive interview with Xu,
he says, "I saw it [Sandy's body] with my own eyes. I didn't go up and check
carefully. I only said to myself: Oh another victim. "
“In those years China was cooperating a lot with the Soviet Union but they
wouldn’t go with us. Before the Everest climb our record was 7,000 metres so
we went to Beijing University where they recommended that we learn from the
Royal Geographical Society’s magazine, which was very useful and
inspirational. You could say we climbed the mountain inspired by the British
pioneers. That is mountaineering – you learn from the experience of others. In
1958 I investigated the route. We tried every route but the British route was
the most scientific, it was longer but it was safer.“
the Chinese studied the reports of the British. They probably knew 100 times
more than any of us know today about the British expeditions. They picked up
rope, oxygen bottles, and equipment the British left on Everest, and took it
back to China to study.
Xu Jing refers to the body as "Irvine" most of the time
instead of a "body"
continue with the Chinese for a minute to learn another clue. Xu Jing says,
"... persons climbed the Second Step one by one, but one person alone I think
it's very unlikely. It's my personal opinion."
Xu Jing is
replaying this in his mind. He is thinking Sandy died alone on the ridge, so
how could Sandy have made it up by himself? Xu concludes Sandy probably did not
summit based on him being alone on the ridge. And we agree with him that Sandy
probably did not summit for several reasons. But Xu Jing is not thinking
about a key point: how did George Mallory get to where the Chinese found him
Sandy was NOT alone of the ridge that day, George was with
him! George Mallory got down from the ridge.
is simple. Either Mallory climbed the Second Step, leaving Sandy behind. Or
Mallory turned around at the 2nd Step,and left Sandy on the ridge, climbed down
alone, went past camp and then somehow turned around to the left and back up
towards the mountain.
If George had been found to the right, we would not be spending our money!
this a little more closely. Suppose George did turn around on the ridge and
descend. If he passed camp, it is only logical that he stopped there or
continued down the mountain. The alternative is almost unthinkable: that
George passed camp, then turned left and headed back up the mountain along the
North Face. It is far more likely that George summited Everest and came down
the Great Couloir, a route he studied with Norton. Note that Messner only
needed two hours to descend from the summit through the Great Couloir to a
point far lower than where George Mallory's body was found. If one assumes
George was 1/2 as fast as Messner on the descent (note Messner did not use
oxygen) then one would estimate it took George about 2 hours to the point
where he died from he summit.
the Proof? On the Mountain of course!
opinion this is no longer about dead bodies. It is not about a camera Sandy
Irvine may or may not have (with a picture of the ridge or Camp 6). This is
about clues above the Second Step...
Clues and the Chinese Part 2: Why all of this
talk about Wilson's body at ABC??
With our kindest regards and thanks, The Staff at
We return to Mount Everest in search of an answer.
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