The Andy Politz Q&A with Questions from the readers of

For anyone who does not know, Andy was a member of the 99 Mallory and Irvine Expedition as well as the 2001 Mallory and Irvine Expedition. In total Andy has been on 7 Everest Expeditions: 1985 (West Ridge); 1986 (West Ridge); 1988 (Kangshung Face); 1991 (Tibet, Northeast Ridge, to summit); 1993 (Nepal, South Col); 1999 (Tibet, Northeast Ridge); 2001 ( Tibet, Northeast Ridge). This is his Q&A on the 2001 Mallory Expedition:

Question:  Do you think Andrew Irvine's body will be found ?

Andy: Iím sure of it.

Question:  What do you think the chances are that he HAS the camera?

Andy: I think it is worth betting a monthís salary on.

Question: I have a question about the infamous camera that may hold the answer to the question of who summitted Everest first. If the camera were found, would the images be retrievable? And if so, how? I know that images have been retrieved years later from climbers who have perished, but none that I know have from this kind of time span.

Andy: If you question the professional photo labs, it seems they all have developed film from 40-50 years ago. The cold temperature, in this situation, only makes the film more stable. The Kodak Lab in Rochester, NY has an impressive group on the job. They have a wise plan to bring up an image off the film. Their big concern seems to be condensation on the film in the handling of the camera. We were directed to do what we could to bring the camera slowly through temperature changes. Also, we wanted to avoid too hot (over 90 degrees) and too cold (dry ice) temperatures. To avoid powerful x-rays, we needed to hand carry the camera through airport security.

 At Cord Camera, here in Columbus, we have run a painfully accurate simulation of a technician opening a similar camera, to extract the film from a 77-year-old camera. We wanted to represent field conditions (i.e., outside the lab, in the office, on the bossís desk, with oneís arms shoved into a lightproof tent, with a video camera going to capture the stresses upon said technician). Due to this trial run, we realized beginning the developing process at 6PM on a Friday night, with a hot date later that evening, with three people egging him on, with little research allowed into the chemistry of the scenario caused a little too much stress on the technician.

Maybe thatís why Kodak has such a large team on the job?

Still, Phil Kinstle, lab director at, one of my sponsors, took it like a professional. Iím sure heíll get those of us present, that put him up to it, back soon enough.

Question: I just wondered if the same team would be returning to "finish what they started" so to speak? In '02 or '03?

Andy: There are no plans I have heard of currently.

Question: What was the most significant find of this year' s expedition? How did it change what we already know?

Andy: You would get a better perspective from Jochen. I would say it to be the location of the 1924 Camp 6.  I canít speculate how it changeís what we already know. The clues arenít earth shattering, rather subtle insights directing where to look . 

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