Detectives on Everest

Detectives on Everest

The 2001 Mallory & Irvine Research Expedition

  • This is the continuing story of Ghosts of Everest, the best-selling book of Eric Simonson’s expedition that found George Mallory’s body in 1999.
  • A breath-holding account of Simonson’s team rescuing two groups of climbers others had left for dead and giving up their attempt to find Irvine in the meantime
  • Remarkable discoveries at almost every turn

When the research team led by Eric Simonson found George Mallory’s body high on Everest in 1999, the news made headlines around the world-and ignited intense debate. One question, at least, remained unanswered: What happened to Mallory’s partner, Andrew Irvine? In 2001, Simonson’s team returned in search of answers among the high camps on Everest’s north side. Detectives on Everest is the story of this second expedition, and what it found, including new archaeological findings from the early British and Chinese climbs on Everest.

It is also the story of an exciting rescue, one that led the climbers to make some important discoveries about their own values. As Dave Hahn, Andy Politz, Tap Richards, and Jason Tanguay, accompanied by Phu Nuru and Fu Dorji, were preparing for their own summit attempt, they discovered that five climbers from two other expeditions were in dire straits on the mountain. Abandoning their ascent plans, the team pulled off one of the highest, most technically difficult rescues in history even as other climbers passed them by, refusing to help. Although the rescue effectively ended the expedition, it renewed the team’s respect for the mountain and its history. It also earned four of the team members and two of the Sherpas the David A. Sowles Memorial Award, which the American Alpine Club bestows upon mountaineers who have distinguished themselves, with unselfish devotion at personal risk or sacrifice of a major objective, in going to the assistance of fellow climbers imperilled in the mountains.

But the story does not end there. Surprisingly, the most tantalizing clue to the mystery of Mallory and Irvine was uncovered not on the mountain-but in Beijing. Shortly after the expedition ended, Hemmleb and Simonson traveled to China to interview climbers from the 1960 and 1975 Chinese expeditions. What they were told might hold the key for future detectives on Everest.