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New Clues Found About 1924 Everest Climbers


by Unknown

May 13, 2001

Camp4 - Climbing News Archive

An expedition to Mount Everest, trying to determine whether climbers George Mallory and Andrew "Sandy" Irvine reached the summit before their 1924 deaths, has found new evidence.

The modern climbing party, led by Eric Simonson of Ashford near Mount Rainier, found a sock and mitten at roughly 8 100 metres - possibly the highest camp established by the British expedition.

The party also found oxygen bottles and other evidence of high camps used by Chinese climbers in 1960 and 1975, according to dispatches posted Thursday on the expedition's website.

Excitement about Thursday's discoveries was tempered briefly by concern about the expedition's safety. A shift in the jet stream sent winds of up to 160 kph whipping across Everest's upper North Face, where several members were believed camped in tents.

"That's a lousy place to be in that kind of weather," said Erin Simonson, the expedition's Washington-based business manager and Simonson's wife.

Later Thursday, however, she received an email from her husband saying, "All well here," and making no mention of weather troubles.

The expedition hopes to find a camera Irvine is believed to have carried or other clues that might settle lingering questions about the 1924 climb.

The Britons were last seen June 8, 1924, less than 300 metres from Everest's 8 850-metre summit.

Another Simonson-led expedition found Mallory's body in 1999, but there was nothing to indicate how high he had climbed before his death. The 1924 camp might also contain Mallory's lost diary, as well as any left-behind oxygen cylinders or other equipment.

Many believe Irvine's body and camera might be near the 1975 site

One of the Chinese climbers spotted what he called "old English dead" nearby - the discovery that sparked Simonson's searches.

Remnants of the camp were found Tuesday by Seattle's Tap Richards, a longtime guide on Mount Rainier. He and fellow Rainier guide Dave Hahn of Taos, New Mexico, also found oxygen bottles nearby, indicating the locations of two high camps used by a 1960 party.

The glove and mitten thought to be from Mallory and Irvine's 1924 camp were excavated by Andy Politz of Columbus, Ohio, in a shallow gully near the crest of Everest's North Ridge.

The location matched descriptions of the site from British climbers, whose 1933 stop there is the last time it was known to have been visited.

In addition to Simonson, Richards, Hahn and Politz, western climbers in the expedition are Jake Norton, Brent Okita, historians Jochen Hemmleb of Schonau am Konigsee near the German-Austrian border and Larry Johnson of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; and expedition doctor Lee Meyers.

Thanks to Independant Online for the news.

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