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 Nov. 21-30th, 1999 Daily Reports

For Latest News. For earlier reports: See the Site Index for a list of all the Daily Reports plus many other stories. If you are new to the site you will want to visit the Site Index... along with the homepage... Please visit EverestNews.com Sponsor page !

Daily News: 11/30/99 Report

  • Q&A Mallory Questions for Graham Hoyland, as he answers your Mallory Questions and others. On EverestNews.com You ask the Questions. Submit to web@everestnews2004.com

    More answers ...

Q.) How frustrating was it following the exploits in Tibet from afar?

A.) [Graham Hoyland]  Immensely frustrating! Remember, this was my life's work...I'd been thinking about  trying to find out what happened to Mallory and  Irvine since meeting my great-uncle Howard Somervell at the age of twelve. But I'm proud to have instigated a search which has finally given George Mallory a decent Christian burial. Remember, too, that we didn't find what we actually set out to find- the camera. It's still up there,  and it's the last chance we have to find out what actually happened on the fateful day.

Q.) How do you feel about the creation of a "M+I expert" lecture/book circuit given that you should be, by right, one of the more prominent members of it? [good to see your ovation at the Royal Geographical Society]

A.) [Graham Hoyland]  Thank you for contributing to the ovation if you did, it was very gratifying. It's a bit frustrating, but not as much as I thought it might be. I think to make money out of George Mallory's memory would have been a little awkward for me. My quest for Mallory has been an interior one, as I tried to understand what I now believe is my drive to experience the existential moment. I suppose I've now been able to formulate a personal philosophy which is something about an acknowledgement that we all inevitably have to die, but that some individuals can rise above that  inevitability in the course of high endeavour. George Mallory was one of those individuals.   Graham

  • Graham New novel is available For Sale in manuscript digital form only on www.k2news.com Available Now !!!  The first orders of "covers" receive a signed numbered cover while supplies last. The earlier the order the lower the number !

Daily News: 11/29/99 Report

  • Q&A Mallory Questions for Graham Hoyland, as he answers your Mallory Questions and others. On EverestNews.com You ask the Questions. Submit to web@everestnews2004.com

    His answers to the second set...

Q.) Does the evidence favor O'Dell's siting of Mallory and Irvine at Step 1 or 2?

A.) [Graham Hoyland]  On our expedition Andy Politz went to the trouble to get himself to the point where Odell observed Mallory and Irvine on the North Ridge. He took photographs and video and explains the logic of what he saw in "Ghosts of Everest". He says that the 1st, 2nd and 3rd steps were each clearly separated. The only place that corresponds to what Odell described is the 3rd step, which is above the 2nd step. Therefore, if  Odell's sighting is to be believed Mallory and Irvine had somehow got themselves to that point sufficiently early to get to the summit by nightfall. Also, Jochen took a fascinating picture of Hahn and Anker on the third step from ABC and it's uncannily like what Odell described. I've always believed Odell's story: he was a trained observer, he had excellent eyesight and didn't wear spectacles even in old age. His story changed,  certainly, but this happens to witnesses when they are repeatedly quizzed about what they saw. Poor old thing; in the end he wasn't even sure WHAT he saw, but I think if you go back to his first diary entry and compare it to what Andy and Jochen saw then you have to concede that it's very likely that Odell saw them above the second step going strongly for the top. I think they did it.  

Q.) Any plans to locate Irvine? 

A.) [Graham Hoyland]  I would love to go back to find Sandy Irvine and give him a decent burial, too. But no firm plans at present.  

Q.) Is search even prudent w/o snowless condition at Camp VI?

A.) [Graham Hoyland]  Imprudent, even pointless.

Q.) Any other sitings of "Mallory" oxygen tanks?

A.) [Graham Hoyland]  Not that I know of.  

Q.) What is highest verifiable elevation gained by M & I?

A.) [Graham Hoyland] It depends upon verifiable, but I suppose Irvine's ice axe at 27,760 feet (8,460 m)  is indisputable. And as I write that I'm staggered how bloody high they were. I know how high that feels with modern gear. My God, those two had balls! 

Q.) I am only a neophyte in the Mallory/Irvine mystery, but after reading several of the books, articles and research papers a couple of questions arise: Would Mallory have asked Irvine to carry the camera on the ascent to photograph him (Mallory) on the summit. Does this mean that the camera may be with Irvine's body?

A.) [Graham Hoyland]  The fact that it wasn't found on Mallory does lead one to speculate why, doesn't it? I suggest M entrusted I to take the photographs, and I'm sure it's on Irvine's body.

Q.) When will attempts be taken to locate Irvine? If found, it will be interesting to see if the rope found  around Mallory's waist matches any rope on Irvine's. Thank You very much! Jimmy Stevenson.

A.) [Graham Hoyland]  I certainly hope any rope found on Irvine matches that found around Mallory's body. Otherwise those rumours about the other two climbers seen up there may be true.... 

  • Graham New novel is available For Sale in manuscript digital form only on www.k2news.com Available Now !!!  The first orders of "covers" receive a signed numbered cover while supplies last. The earlier the order the lower the number !

Daily News: 11/25/99 Report

  • "The story that must be told."

They were called Romeo and Juliet of the Cold War.

Sergi: His attempt.

On May 22nd Sergi reached the Summit of Everest with his wife Fran. Based on Sergi’s statements to Radgapov, Sergi felt good and said he had a cash below between the First and Second Steps including one bottle of oxygen, a tent and some warm clothing.

One of the mysteries is why the tent was not in the cash when Fran and Sergi descended from the Summit. Clearly, Sergi was planning on the tent being there, with the assumption that if they needed to stay above Camp 6 they would have a tent to sleep in. Instead they had to bivouac in the open. Why the tent was not where Sergi said it was, will probably remain a mystery forever.

We know Sergi met the five members of the Uzbekistan expedition, Oleg Grigoriev, Andrei Fedorov, Sergei Sokolov, Svetlana Baskakova and Marat Usaev, at about 9:35 on on May 23rd at approx. 8,450 m. Sergi asked them: "Where is my wife? Did not she came down?" They answered negative.

Sergi then descended to the Camp 6. Sergi was alive and safe. The climbers continued their ascent of the mountain.

By all accounts when Sergi heard that Fran was still alive, Sergi immediately started climbing up without oxygen but other climbers persuaded him to return and he took one bottle of oxygen, tea and medicines with him. Grigoriev states that when he met Sergi. Sergi asked," Is Fran here?" he answered "She is still alive".

We know Sergi reached Fran once again because his ice axe and rope were found approx. 50 meters from Fran. So with some pleasure it is known that Fran and Sergi got to spend some more time together.

On May 24th 1998, the members of Uzbekistan expedition, state that at a distance of 50-60 m from Fran, climbers saw the ice axe and the rope of Sergi.

When they descended from the Summit the ice axe was missing. Another mystery is was the ice axe missing because someone took it or did Sergi had it ?

What EverestNews.com believes is:

Sergi was a very smart man. He was an experienced H. A. climber. Sergi knew no one was going to save his wife when he left camp 6 to attempt to save her. It is unclear if Sergi had overheard radio calls from other climbers on these days. We know a radio was in the Camp with him. Climbers have told EverestNews.com that some wanted to go. The weather was fine, there was no snowstorm. Fran did not die because of a storm like many on Everest. Fran died because she could not make it down. She froze to death on Everest. For example, one climber was reported to have said (language is not revealed to protect them), "For God’s sake it is an American" to which his expedition leader replied, "it is none of our business".

Sergi it seems had to know, that the only chance to save Fran was by himself. What EverestNews.com believes is that Sergi reached Fran and sometime between that night and the time that the climbers on the 23th reached Fran, Sergi was trying climb down the area below the first step, basically straight down to the yellow band. We believe this because climbers on the 25th told EverestNews.com they saw one set of footprints going down in their area below where Sergi rope was. In many discussions with climbers who have reached the Summit of Everest on this route. A theory was developed. The theory is: Sergi is alone, he cannot pull or carry Fran the traverse from the first step to camp 6. It is impossible for any one man to do this according to all the climbers we discussed this with. Totally completely impossible, Sergi would have known this.

Therefore, Sergi must have faced the thought on how can I get my Fran down. The only other way would have been to somehow move her down this slope to the yellow band and then pull her from the yellow band to Camp 6. This is considered a reasonable thought from those climbers we discussed this with. Not saying it is possible, but probably his only option by himself. The evidence seems to indicate he took this option.

A body, believed to be Sergi’s was seen by at least two climbers in Spring Everest 99. The location of the body is actually in the area below where the Americans were looking for Irvine. EverestNews.com believes it is reasonable that Sergi fell from the descent and then the snow and ice on the mountain moved his body into the present position. The other possibility is that Sergi free climbed straight down from the first step walked a distance and then slipped and fell. We will never know for sure. But it clear in our minds that Sergi was working to save his Fran. The pain that Sergi must have felt, knowing that his wife was freezing to death on Everest must have been horrible, knowing that he have helped Fran live her dream, only for her to die for her dream.

Sergi will always be a hero in our hearts for attempting to do everything he could to save his dear wife… He could have stayed in Camp 6. He went back to get his Fran.

What is also interesting is: Was Sergi still alive on the 24th? Was Sergi’s ice axe gone because he had the ice axe? Most believe someone must have took it, that Sergi could not have survived a second night "out" on Everest. But we know Fran did ! If Sergi survived the Second night then maybe he spent the night with his wife and climbed down on May 24th which would explain why the climbers on the 24th does not mention the one set of footprints but the climbers on the 25th do. Or maybe the climbers on the 24th simply did not seen the footprints.

Therefore based on the evidence EverestNews.com concludes that Sergi reached Fran, planned some sort of attempt to get her down (If he was just going back to Camp, he would have just went down the normal route, not climbed down from the first step in this way.), and either on the 23rd or the 24th free climbed straight down the area of the first step to the yellow band and then slipped and fell to his death a few meters below.

A great effort either way in our opinion.

  • As far as EverestNews.com attempt to write this story. EverestNews.com has concluded the story. Frankly, EverestNews.com attempted to have many others write this story. At one point a writer was going to write the story. He was recommended to EverestNews.com by Larry Johnson who EverestNews.com introduced to Jochen (well you know that story). Sadly the writer had a couple of serious personal problems in his life and could not do the story resulting in many delays. Others declined, others offered advice. We would like to thank the very nice people at risk for all their help and for being so nice to work with. They, like EverestNews.com have worked very hard on this story to try to find the truth. We both only wish we could have done something to help Sergi get his Francis down that day…
  • This is a very dangerous sport, as we look to Everest 2000. We know people will die, the only question is how many and who…
  • The attempt to re-tell this story can be found on Fran...with all the updates to be added there.

 

  • Q&A Mallory Questions for Graham Hoyland, as he answers your Mallory Questions and others. On EverestNews.com You ask the Questions. Submit to web@everestnews2004.com
  • Our next update will be Monday Nov 29th when we post more answers from Graham to your questions.

 

 

Daily News: 11/24/99 Report

  • "The story that must be told."

They were called Romeo and Juliet of the Cold War.

Below is what is believed to have happened on May 24, 1998. We should add that the below is based largely on statements of the what the Uzbekistan climbers said to the staff of Risk www.risk.ru and a small amount of information obtained by the staff of EverestNews.com . Neither the staff of Risk nor EverestNews.com were on the mountain on these days therefore we can only take the information given by the climbers and compare the information to the evidence. The statements of the Sherpas who do not speak the same language as the Uzbekistan climbers are considered strong evidence by the Staff. 

May 24th 1998

Fran is still alive. Somehow she has lived for two nights out on Everest above 8,000 meters without a tent.

Four members of Uzbekistan expedition, Tukhvatullin Ilias, Zaikin Andrei and Dokukin Alexei, leave Camp 6 (8,200 m) at 4:55. At 7:50 Tukhvatullin was the first climber who came to Fran, then the two South African climbers, the Sherpas from South African expedition, followed by the rest of the Uzbekistan team.

Fran was still alive. All the time she repeats: "Help, help!"

Her hands were out of sleeves inside of the goose jacket, without gloves, her hat was off. Fran was fixed to the end of the rope as she had been left the day before.

At the distance of 50-60 m from her, climbers saw the ice axe and the rope of Sergi.

The Uzbekistan climbers stated to Risk that, the mountaineers from South Africa gave Frances the tea. They checked her legs and made the massage, and certain that she could not go herself. Tukhvatullin offered to give the injection of adrenaline and even warmed the ampoule, but South Africans declined. Then the South Africans went down. According to the Uzbekistans, the South Africans did not said any words to the Uzbekistan climbers and returned to camp 6.

The climbers from the Uzbekistan expedition continued their summit attempt. After 20-30 minutes three Sherpas overtook the Uzbekistan climbers. Until the top ridge the Sherpas climbed up together with Tukhvatullin. Then Tukhvatullin stopped to wait dropped behind for  Zaikin and Dokukin. At that time the Sherpas went ahead and were on the top at 12:30, then Tukhvatullin at 13:20, Zaikin and Dokukin at 13:50. They started the descent at 14:00.

When the climbers passed Fran on the way back from the Summit at 18:00, Sergi’s ice axe was not seen.

The birds were on Fran's body.

 

  • On Thursday’s update EverestNews.com will conclude this brief view of these events with the story of Sergi. EverestNews.com will then return to Graham’s Q & A and move on to other News…. 

 

Daily News: 11/23/99 Report

  •  
    • "The story that must be told."

    They were called Romeo and Juliet of the Cold War.

Below is what is believed to have happened on May 22 & 23, 1998. We should add that the below is based largely on statements of the what the Uzbekistan climbers said to the staff of Risk www.risk.ru and a small amount of information obtained by the staff of EverestNews.com . Neither the staff of Risk nor EverestNews.com were on the mountain on these days therefore we can only take the information given by the climbers and compare the information to the evidence. The statements of the Sherpas who do not speak the same language as the Uzbekistan climbers are considered strong evidence by the Staff.

This is what the staff of EverestNews.com believes based on that work…

 

On May 22nd 1998 Fran became only the 8th woman to Summit the North Side of Everest.

Fran became the first woman from the United States to Summit the North Side of Everest.  Fran reached the Summit without the use of supplemental oxygen. Fran became the first woman from America to summit without the use of supplemental oxygen.

Both of the other two women to have reached the Summit of Everest without the use of supplemental oxygen in the past were dead. Therefore, she became the only woman still alive to have summited Everest without oxygen…

Fran stood on the top of the world as a great woman climber. She stood with her husband, Sergi. Fran had made history on a low profile expedition. However, if she could get down she would soon become famous.

Fran was "late" in getting to the top, but it is common for a climber who attempts Everest from the North without the use of supplemental oxygen to arrive at the Summit "late".

Radgapov tells that Sergi told him that it was not necessary to be worried because they felt good and had a cash below (between the First and Second Steps) including one bottle of oxygen, a tent and some warm clothing.

Radgapov on the descent saw the cash that Sergi described at about 8,630 m; The cash described by Radgapov, was an almost empty sack with a bottle of oxygen (no tent). The extra tent was later found lower on the mountain.

Therefore, it appears from the evidence that Sergi and Fran spent the night on Everest without a tent. It is believed they descended to their cash at 8,630 m as planned.

May 23rd 1998

Five members of the Uzbekistan expedition, Oleg Grigoriev, Andrei Fedorov, Sergei Sokolov, Svetlana Baskakova and Marat Usaev, started from 8,200 m for their summit attempt at 6:00. The climbers were carrying 10 bottles of oxygen with them. At about 9:35 on 8,450 m they met Sergi who asked them: "Where is my wife? Did not she came down?" They answered negative.

Sergi then descended to the Camp 6. Sergi was alive and safe. The climbers continued their ascent of the mountain.

At 10:40 after the First Step (about 100 m from the 8,630 m bivouac) the Uzbekistan climbers came to Fran. She was leaning on to a rock, in half-conscious condition. There was no harness on her.

The climbers state they consulted doctors about Fran condition. The details of these discussions are confusing and not confirmed, but the climbers say they gave her some a few tablets of trental and oxygen with 4 liters per minute (Fedorov gave her his mask), but she tore the mask off, mumbling something.

Fran feet, we are told are beginning to freeze as would be expected after spending the night out on Everest without a tent.

The climbers sat her down, and attempted to massage of the legs and hands. At 11:40 Grigoriev decided that Sokolov, Baskakova and Usaev would continue the attempt. Grigoriev and Fedorov stayed with Fran. At 13:00 Fedorov also continued his attempt. He came without oxygen (he left his mask and oxygen for Fran). Grigoriev then left for the summit at 13:30 (with oxygen). Before going away he fixed Frances to the rope and fixed the oxygen mask. After 100 m at 8,630 m he found the place of Sergi cash, where he found an empty sack, an empty oxygen bottle, a mask with reducer, a headlamp and a flask. He took the mask with reducer for Fedorov. Before the Second Step he found the harness of Fran.

After the Second Step, Grigoriev passed Fedorov, gave him his half-used oxygen bottle and the mask with reducer he found on 8,630 m. When he met the three descending climbers, he gave Usaev will give his half-used bottle to Fedorov. All three climbers are already using their second oxygen bottle.

Sokolov, Baskakova and Usaev were on the top at 14:30. On descent under the top ridge Usaev gave his oxygen to ascending Fedorov. Baskakova was the first who returned to Frances at 15:50, she connected her the bottle with a rest of oxygen. Sokolov, Baskakova and Usaev stayed with Fran till the Grigoriev's return. Grigoriev was on the top at 16:00. At 16:10 on descent he met Fedorov whom summited at 16:30.

Grigoriev sent Sokolov and Usaev down. (Usaev after he gave his oxygen to Fedorov felt unwell.) They descended to the tents on 8,200 m and Sokolov. They told Sergi what was going on with Fran. By all accounts, Sergi immediately started climbing up without oxygen but they persuaded him to return and he took 1 bottle of oxygen, tea and medicines with him.

At 18:20 Grigoriev with a help of Baskakova started to decent Fran from the First Step, after they had helped put her with found harness on her. The descent had been done with carabiner and UIAA knot, plus PETZL ascender. Baskakova drew off the feet of Fran in order to they not caught on the rock. They got her vertically down with two connected ropes (about 80 m) and pulled her 15 m traverse to the path under the small rock. That time Fedorov descended to them, his oxygen was over on 8,750 m and he felt unwell. The climbers then state that Fran started into convulsion. Grigoriev sent Sokolova down. Then at 20:15 he fixed Fran to the rope where she would die, connected her the last bottle of oxygen, set her gloves, hat and cowl straight and came down himself.

At 20:00 Grigoriev said by radio that he saw Sergi ascending. On descent at 20:40 Grigoriev met Sergi. Sergi asked, "Is Fran here?" he answered: "She is still alive". Grigoriev came down to 8,200 m at 21:15.

Sergi never returned to Camp 6. Five Uzbekistan climbers had summited Everest on that day. It would be learned later that Ci Luo, a Chinese climber also summited Everest that day. Strangely Ci Luo was never mentioned by any of the other climbers.

Next Fran is still alive on May 24, after her second night out on Everest….

To be continued... 

  • The attempt to re-tell this story can be found on Fran...with all the updates to be added there.

 

Daily News: 11/22/99 Report

  • K2 Summits:

The K2 Summits has been updated and with one exception appear to be in agreement... Check them out at www.k2news.com . You will find many interesting names there, including the only man to summit K2 twice, and two of the Ukrainian climbers who were first up from the North Side of Everest in Spring 1999.

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