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Irvine update: wealthy sportsmen offered Everest history for $200K

Posted: Feb 05, 2010 01:17 am EST

"That's got to be Irvine, says Tom Holzel, pointing at a convex blob in an Everest image. Now all we need is some boots on the ground to prove it - and bring back Irvine's folding Kodak camera." They also need $200K and this is where you could be part of history.

After detailed studies of high-res aerial images from Everest Yellow Band (check ExWebs previous story), the Everest researcher is positive about having spotted Irvines remains at 8,425m on the mountains north face. The signs are very good, he told ExplorersWeb. However, as with all speculation, it will take crampons in the snow to get the final answer to this long quest.

I have got two well-known and respected professional Everest climbers and film-makers ready to launch a mini-expedition this spring: Thom Pollard and Jake Norton, Tom said.

200K to make Everest History

They require funding of $200,000 to launch this expedition, film the discovery of Andrew Irvine and bring his precious camera back to the U.S. The film in the old camera has been perpetually frozen and is not affected by cosmic rays (as modern film is). The ancient film will show whether or not the two reached the summit of Mt. Everest in 1924, some 29 years before sir Edmund Hillary & Sherpa Norgay. If they did, it will rewrite history and be reported in every newspaper, TV show and media outlet in the world.

Even if they did not reach the top (which is more likely) just finding out how far they did get, showing images of them and their climb will bringing to a close this mystery that has fascinated explorers for 85 years. It will still make headlines around the world.

The deal

Time is short though, Tom points out: "The mountain is reasonably clear of snow only in the spring climbing season, April 15th to June 15th., and it takes time to get permits, find Sherpa guides, get equipment, oxygen, etc. However, my two professional climbers could still get a permit for this years season.

This may be an opportunity for an ambitious, sporty young man (or woman) who wants to make a name for himself/herself, Tom said. What he offers is not just to sponsor the expedition but to actually become a team member and get instantly famous on Everests upper slopes.

It occurred to me that some wealthy sportsmen would love to be the discoverers of what might be a history-altering find, said Holzel. They would have to be strong, with some mountaineering experience and able to put up $200K in a few days time.

The race is on

We will lead him (or her) to discover Irvine and his camera, an event that will be reported all over the world. We're now pretty sure we've got the location of Irvine's body nailed down. Although the location is awkward to get to, and off the beaten path, it is still below the First Step at 8425m. So huge climbing skills are not required--just the usual endurance--and, of course, the money.

The catch is we need to find this ambitious person NOW--before mid February--to be able to set everything up, Tom ended. Fee must be paid up front. Otherwise we'll have to wait until next year--and probably have a lot of competition.

In 1986, Everest expert and co-author of the book "First on Everest - The mystery of Mallory and Irvine," Tom Holzel set out to find Mallory's camera. In addition, Tom was the one to track down Zhang Junyan and corroborated the late Chinese mountaineer Wang's story about the discovery of an "English body" on the mountain.

In his popular Tracking truth-in-evidence on Mount Everest, published at ExWeb in 2008 (check the links section), the American historian explained how he had arrived to the conclusion that Mallory and Irvine did not summit Mount Everest back in 1924. To confirm Tom's theory that the climbers fell while descending after an aborted summit push; finding Irvine and the camera is crucial.

Mallorys remains were found at 8,200 meters on Everest in 1999. Severe rope-jerk injuries around the bodys waist suggested that he could have fallen to his death while roped-up with climbing mate Andrew Irvine. No trace of Irvine was to be found though; or the camera the two carried on their last climb. Those who have searched the barren slopes of Everest North face since all returned empty-handed.

In a three-part series on The Search for Andrew Irvine published at ExplorersWeb in April, 2009 Tom Holzel thoroughly analyzed all clues, testimonies and high-resolution orthophotographic prints, to come up with a probable location of Irvines body.

In 2010, Holzel announced that strong clues pointed to a location at 8,425m on Everest north side. He is currently trying to launch a recovery expedition.


Irvine's body is presumably located at 8,425m in the so-called Yellow Band - highlighted in yellow on an image of Everest's north face.
courtesy Swissphoto AG, Zurich