Who climbed Everest first? Part III of III
12:16 p.m. EDT Jun 29, 2003
The tent reportedly seen by the 1960 Chinese expedition isn’t the only clue that Noy wants to find on Everest. Wilson was also carrying with him a mirror that he planned to use as a signal when he reached the top:
Then there’s the supporting evidence about Wilson’s mirror. Upon finding Wilson’s body, and diary, in 1935, Shipton had recorded: “He (Wilson) had with him a small shaving mirror which he proposed to heliograph to those at Rongbuk from the summit, so as to provide proof that he had actually reached it.”
Years later, I had asked Charles Warren if he and Shipton had found a mirror in 1935 when they discovered Wilson‘s body (incidentally, Dr. Warren would later tell me “In over fifty years, no one had ever asked me that question before!”).
Click here for an image of Dr. Warren's note.
Gombu had not found a mirror in the ruined tent at 8500 meters either. In 1935, Shipton and Warren also found Wilson’s diary. Wilson’s last entry was: “Off again. Gorgeous day;” an entry not indicative of looming death by exposure.
Click here for an image of Wilson's final entries in his diary.
The image to the left is a metal object that was also found in 1985 at Wilson’s burial place just below ABC. Note the remains of the decaying old tent and human bone fragments next to it.
Because I thought this metal object was part of a cook stove, I sent this photo to the Imperial War Museum and received a reply saying that is not a cook stove, but rather, "a section of the frame of a traveling/camping mirror."
Click here for an image of that letter.
The mirror’s frame appears to be carefully dismantled, no doubt as Warren had hinted at, in an effort to shave off weight. To this day, no mirror, or shards, has ever been found.
Did Wilson also leave behind his diary, in order to shave precious ounces? Did Wilson reach the top? After all the daunting obstacles that he had surmounted on his amazing global pioneering flight, and in light of Gombu’s tantalizing 8500 meter testimony, it would seem plausible. Wilson was simply too close.
Our goal is to find and attempt to excavate that purportedly “unaccounted for” tent at 8500 meters, or what’s left of it, and see what further evidence it may yield.
To all the climbers on the North side of Everest, we need your accomplished high-altitude help. We invite you to please keep your eyes and minds open next time you’re at 8500 meters, and let us know if you find anything, if anything still exists. Your discovery could be instrumental in writing the last entry into the most compelling, and decidedly against-the-grain, chapter in Everest mountaineering history.
Coming later on this week will be an ExplorersWeb interview with Noy.
Image and article Courtesy of Thomas Noy.