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 Q&A with Riley Morton Producer of Found On Everest: Detectives on the Roof of the World

Question: Do you think they will ever find Sandy ?

Riley: This is a great question - and one that is very difficult for me to answer. But actually, yes, I do think they will find Sandy. They searched an AMAZING amount of terrain this spring -- but there are one or two areas where he still could be hiding... and there have even been developments since the 2001 expedition that make me believe that there will be a 2003 trip - and it just ... might ... happen ....should be interesting.

Question: I have found on my trips into the mountains that daytime is easy to fill with work, exploring, climbing, and preparations. My biggest challenge  comes at night, alone in the tent, challenged to sleep. Either it's the  "what ifs" that trouble me or the wind noise, cold and altitude sickness symptoms, that make the nights very long. Your thoughts on this?

Riley: I was lucky to travel into 17,000 foot basecamp with one of the International Mountain Guides trekking groups, so I acclimatized really well and easily. Apart from one day of light headaches, I was healthy. This allowed the long, cold nights to be very bearable. I brought a number of great books (anyone read 'Guns, Germs, and Steel'?) and a minidisc player with a number of discs that my sweetheart made me for the trip (anyone ever listen to 'Taj Mahal'?) So I was set. But yes, my -30 degree bag was crucial. 

Question: Do you think the Yeti exists ?

Riley: Well, I was pretty compelled by Messner's account from a couple years ago... I certainly wouldn't rule it out... but ultimately, I think that Messner is probably wrong.

Question: How high did you get on Everest ? and are you a climber ?

Riley: Yeah, I'm definitely a climber. I started in my home state of Washington when I was sixteen, and fell in love with it immediately. But in my first 3 years of climbing, I had two good friends, and climbing partners, die in the mountains - one on a trip that i was on. So I think that I realized very early, that while I love being in the mountains, and climbing, I don't really want to put myself in a position where I could be even close to death. So, until, fate came knocking at my door this spring, I really didn't think that I'd ever spend much time on Mt. Everest or other similar peaks...

So I didn't want to do too much climbing on this trip. And I had responsibilities at Basecamp, working on the video as I was, but I did get one trip up to ABC, which was amazing, and Jochen and I woke up early one day, and made it about halfway up the N. Col before the weather closed in on us, and we descended. We got to 22,000 feet, beating my previous record by more than 5000 feet. Let me tell you, doing anything at that altitude... is really really hard.

Question: Tell us about the Sherpa climbers. I heard Eric fired some and send them to walk home with food... 

What is the good and the bad.

Riley: The sherpas are just amazing. Incredible people, incredible athletes. I enjoyed every minute in their company. Perhaps my biggest regret about my film, 'Found On Everest'  is the fact that I really wasn't able to include much at all about the Sherpas, without whom, our expedition wouldn't be the same. But really, the story is about 2 things: the search for Mallory and Irvine, and the rescue on May 24. Re: Eric sending some home early... Simo doesn't take any shit. And if some of the help spends more time drunk than helping with the expedition, then it really isn't worth his money to pay them to do that. 

So yeah, he had to send a couple sherpas out (in a jeep to Nepal) - which is really too bad - but ultimately nobody's fault but their own...

Question: Tell us more about Andy P, he is my favorite of the group.

Riley: Andy is just a phenomenal individual. I feel feel really lucky to have met him. He seems to me to be a climber that really has his priorities in order. He's also salt of the earth, not a climber that has an inflated opinion about himself... even though what he's accomplished in the Himalaya is absolutely phenomenal. He's also a wonderful writer as you can see from his dispatches. Jochen and I spent a great deal of time this spring trying to convince Andy to continue work on a book that he has in mind... I won't include his email address here, but... maybe if there were enough popular support from the EverestNews.com community...

Question: Was this your first time at Everest ? Can you compare it to being on other mountains.

Riley: It was my first time in the Himalayas. And it was amazing. Unlike being on any mountains that I've been on here in North America. In the Cascades and Tetons, a four or five day climbing trip is a long one... so being part of a group that spent the better part of three months on one mountain was a really foreign experience for me... But it was soooo cool to get to see what an Everest expedition is like from the inside...

To submit your questions to Riley [Maybe a few about what is in the film too!] send an e-mail with questions to to everestnews2004@adelphia.net At EverestNews.com you get to ask the questions. 

An EverestNews.com Exclusive! 

Found On Everest: Detectives on the Roof of the World

Price: $25 for VHS or DVD (shipping included to US, Canada and the UK)

How to order: e-mail everestnews2004@adelphia.net include your name and address and e-mail.

The production company will then contact you for payment.

For orders outside of US, Canada, and the UK please e-mail everestnews2004@adelphia.net with location for a price Quote.

These are pre-orders! The video is expected to ship around the end of November for VHS. DVD orders are not expected to ship until mid December.

Note for our UK readers, this is 'ntsc standard' copy for VHS not PAL.

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