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ExWeb series: The Mystery of Mallory and Irvine's Fate Part 5 Final
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Nov 1, 2004 20: 10 EST

In this 5 part ExWeb series, researchers Pete Poston and Jochen Hemmleb (author of several books on the subject) has offered an interesting insight in the battle to find the true fate of Mallory and Irvine.

In the previous entries, they introduced the mystery, and criticism of the EverestNews Theory - resting on an unidentified climber in an unrevealed location, lacking clear data and involving some serious climbing stunts.

Yesterday, the authors offered their own theory. Mainly because of the broken rope around his waist, they believe Mallory and Irvine were together at the time of the accident. Irvine survived the accident that severed the rope and killed Mallory, tried to make it down to Camp VI and died of exhaustion. Because of the limited nature of Mallory’s injuries, they assume a shorter fall, from somewhere near the base of the (unfamiliar and unroped) Yellow Band, possibly after a wrong descent into it, and then a long slide down.

They base their Theory on locations of Irvine's Ice ax and Mallory's body, images showing rope injuries, evidence of blood and torn gloves, and a high-resolution orthomap among other data. Today the final entry in the series:

The Mystery of Mallory and Irvine’s Fate
By Pete Poston and Jochen Hemmleb, for MountEverest.net

Where is Irvine?

There have now been two claimed sightings of Andrew Irvine: by Chinese climber Xu Jing in 1960 (for details, see Detectives on Everest, pp. 181-188, and www.alpine-history.com) and by EverestNews’ unidentified source.

Can't be in two places

No details have been published so far about the location where the old oxygen bottle was found this spring (which EverestNews said is synonymous with the place where their source saw the old body). And with still uncertainty remaining about the route the Chinese took in 1960, we are unable to decide whether both witnesses have seen the same body. If they were referring to two different locations, one of them must be wrong – because Irvine can’t be in two places.

Two scenarios

So far, Xu Jing’s testimony had allowed for the possibility that Irvine was within the suspected area of Mallory’s fatal fall. If this was proven to be correct, it would mean that Irvine hadn’t survived for very much longer. But if Irvine’s body was sighted a considerable distance further to the east (left), then he had struggled on towards the North Ridge leading to their Camp VI, perhaps by the same route as Jack Longland did in 1933 in similar circumstances (snow squall) – but with non-fatal results.

A dramatic tale doesn't solve the Mystery

At this stage, the story revealed by EverestNews thus may tell a dramatic tale of Irvine’s fight for survival – but, unfortunately, it doesn’t bring us any closer to solving the question how high Mallory and Irvine had got during their daring attempt on June 8, 1924.

(1) "The Fight for Everest 1924", by E. F.Norton, Pilgrims Publishing, updated. 2004
(2) "Ghosts of Everest: The Search for Mallory and Irvine", by Jochen Hemmleb, Larry A. Johnson, Eric R. Simonson, William E. Nothdurft , Mountaineers Books, 1999
(3) "Detectives on Everest: The 2001 Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition", by Jochen Hemmleb, Eric Simonson, Dave Hahn, Mountaineers Books, 2001
(4) http://www.everestnews2004.com/malloryandirvine2004/stories2004/ourtheory.htm
(5) http://www.alpineresearch.ch/alpine/en/shop.html
(6) "Everest 1933: Story or the Mount Everest Expedition 1933", by Hugh Ruttledge, Indian Publishers Distributor; 2002

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