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 Q&A with Riley Morton Producer of Found On Everest: Detectives on the Roof of the World Part 2

Question: I would like to know more about the photographs that Simo purchased. What kind of detail could be seen. I understood the pictures were taken in 1984. Was Mallory's body visible?

Riley: They were actually obtained by Jochen Hemmleb -- and the detail was pretty incredible...I'm not sure of the exact figure -- but something like 1 pixel per meter... so lots of detail, but no, you could not see Mallory's body on it. the photos were taken in the 80s sometime i believe, and there might have been a bit more snow on the mountain than in '99.

Question: What is in this movie ? Is the search area shown? Did Andy shot the movie or Dave Hahn ?

Riley: Most of the high altitude footage was shot by Dave Hahn, with some from John Race -- and I shot everything at basecamp. Some stills from Jake, Brent, and Andy were included as well. The film is a 91 minute documentary about the entire expedition. It essentially follows the expedition from the planning stages of the searching, all the way through the end of the rescue.
The film is in a cinema verite style -- with no narrator. The viewer is essentially a fly on the wall -- and you follow the entire expedition through search footage, climbing footage, and interviews of all the climbers (including the rescued Guatemalan climber Jaime Vinals).  

Question: What in rock climbing terms, is a '5.10'?  

Riley: Challenging at sea level, really hard at 28,000 feet.

Question: Do you think that it would have been possible to climb in 1920's when George Mallory attempted?  If yes, do you think Mallory actually made it? 

Riley: I certainly do think that it was possible to climb Everest in the 20s. It is clear that Mallory and Irvine were incredibly tough, and could sustain extreme temperatures in their primitive gear... Just like  you, I don't know whether they made it or not -- but it certainly is possible, and that is why we're all so excited about this stuff.

Question: How many layers and how thick does your clothing have to be to stop from dying in the cold while climbing Mount Everest?

Riley: These days a nice down suit will do just fine. And then you have to spend every night in a tent, in a sleeping bag, drinking lots of water.

Question: And finally, who do you think reached the summit first? [Interesting !]

Riley: I suspect that it was Sandy Irvine. Hopefully, we'll know in a couple of years.

Question: If you are finding other bodies besides those of Irvine. Why can't they be identified and some analysis of what is known about their accidents.

Riley: I think that the team would say that if there isn't a historical significance to that body, it is best to leave it be. Those bodies are part of the mountain now.

Question: Has anybody thought of doing more forensics on Mallory himself. I can't believe the crew in 99 could do as well as experts could in a lab?

Riley: This is a great question, I'll ask Simo next time I see him!

Question: I think if you published more pictures of the frozen corpses of climbers who died on Everest (not trying to be morbid or disrespectful) it might educate more climbers and would be climbers of the reality of the risks involved. What do you think?

Riley: If you really want to know what I think... I feel like if you don't know what the risks are, there isn't much we can do for you. Real climbers know what the risks are, and if you are climbing Mt. Everest, you have to climb right past a number of dead bodies. it becomes pretty clear at that point.

Question: Why can't you show us exactly where Mallory fell? Who at that elevation would have no class? [Not sure what this question is, let's hope riley does...]

Riley: The team treats this as proprietary information. They spent a lot of time and money to answer that question, and they aren't going to give it up easily. Turns out that there are a number of parties interested in Mallory and Irvine, And our team might mount another expedition in '03, and until then, its under wraps.

For part one of Riley Q&A see here.

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