American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Tibet, Himalaya, Mahalangur Himal, Everest, Search for Andrew Irvine's Body

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2005

Everest, search for Andrew Irvine’s body. Amid much speculation about the fate of Andrew Irvine, members of the 1999 and 2001 Mallory and Irvine Research Expeditions joined the fray in 2004 to continue their efforts to locate the famous British climber (and hopefully his camera), lost in 1924. Unlike the several other well-publicized search expeditions on the mountain in 2004, our group this time took a novel “under the radar” approach. Our strategy in 2004 would be a closely targeted effort based on information from the 1960 Chinese climber Xu Jing, who told Everest historian Jochen Hemmleb and me of seeing a body high in the Yellow Band when we interviewed him in 2001. Operating under the guise of a commercial North Col team organized by my company IMG, Dave Hahn, Jake Norton, and Sherpas Tashi Tseri and Da Nuru were inserted into the climbing scene without anyone knowing their intentions. Over the course of their expedition they managed several days of searching in the Yellow Band, but unfortunately there was more snow on the ledges in the target area than they hoped for, which made it more difficult. A final push up high resulted in Hahn, from Taos, New Mexico making his fifth successful ascent of Mt. Everest, on May 20, 2004 climbing with Da Nuru Sherpa (also his fifth ascent) and Tashi Tseri Sherpa (his tenth ascent). Norton, from Golden, Colorado and a two time Everest summiter, chose to conduct additional solo searching on that day rather than going to the summit again. Jake now becomes the first individual to have visited all pre-modern era Mt. Everest high camps (British ’24, ’33, ’38 and Chinese ’60, ’75). The expedition was organized by me and International Mountain Guides of Ashford, Washington, and was conducted under permit from the Chinese Mountaineering Association. We have attached a photo which shows the total searching now accomplished by our teams in 1999 (darkest), 2001 (medium), and 2004 (lightest).

Eric Simonson, AAC

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