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 Everest Spring 2000: Graham Hoyland

On Friday March 17th 2000, EverestNews.com had the pleasure of attending Graham Hoyland's Lecture "Unraveling the Mystery of George Mallory" in the Baird Auditorium at the National Museum of Natural History. The lecture was presented by the Smithsonian who were excellent hosts. The lecture had to be moved to the Baird Auditorium to accommodate a larger audience. Graham was his humble keen-witted, never self serving and always telling how good of a job the others have done rather than taking any credit himself. Graham did talk about the BBC role in providing over half the funds for last years Mallory and Irvine expedition.

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Graham Hoyland's Lecture

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Graham signing books

Graham, the great nephew of legendary climber Howard Somervell, showed the audience a combination of clips from the BBC film and photos from his collection as he discussed his experiences on Everest over the years, and retraced the steps of Mallory and Irvine. His story was a rare tale of kinship, curiosity, and perseverance. Our favorite picture was of Graham at the Summit of Everest with a wooden ice axe bearing his name. wpe2.jpg (2012 bytes)

Graham leaving the Smithsonian

Somervell and Mallory were dear friends and one-time climbing partners. They crossed paths on Everest in June 1924, as Mallory and Irvine were making their ill fated attempt at the Summit of Everest. Somervell lent Mallory his Kodak camera in hopes that Mallory and Irvine would succeed in obtaining the Summit. Mallory and Irvine disappeared into the clouds above camp 6 never to be seen alive again. Somervell's camera became a tantalizing clue to one of the enduring mysteries on our age. Did Mallory or Irvine actually reach the Summit of Everest ?

Graham explained that as a young boy he nurtured an obsession with ascending Everest and finding Somervell's camera, which might still have retrievable images. Graham became a mountaineer and a BBC producer. Last year he proposed to his girl friend while on Everest. They were married after he returned from Everest after Graham got seriously ill while climbing.

After the presentation, Graham took questions from the hundreds in attendance for over 30 minutes. Many questions were very good, with the audience showing a good understanding of the events. After the lecture, Graham signed books and discussed M&I theories, while some approached him with theories and second hand information from different sources, Graham was once again his patient and humble self.

After the lectures we went off into the night of Washington D.C. with writer Wade Davis and friends. Graham, preparing for Everest, never wore a coat!! We discussed various theories how from Mallory body could have moved down the mountain to how one would study the death of Sergi's death in 1998 to learn clues on M&I. Graham was the listener, carefully thinking over the possibilities. We asked Graham, if there was any possibility that he would make a Summit of attempt this year. Graham replied, " I am just there for the search and only in the search. I have no interest in the Summit." We believe him without a doubt.

Graham would like all climbers on the mountain to know that he has no problem with other searching. In fact he encourages others to look without risking life or limb. Graham will assist other expeditions on Everest this year that might be looking, on where to look and what to do. Graham will assist any climber, if possible, to help preserve whatever might be found. He has made arrangements if the camera is found to get a person from Kodak to the mountain. Graham fears that the camera might be found, only to have the images destroyed because the camera is not handled properly.

Graham will be on Russell Brice's Expedition to Everest this time. Russell, the most experienced guide on Everest, has lead nine expeditions to Everest. This will be his eighth to the North side of the mountain. Mark Whetu, 2 time Everest Summiter, and guide for Russell, will help with the search and film part of the search. Graham shared his theories openly with us on where he thinks Irvine would most likely be on Everest. We assume he will share this with other climbers on Everest. Graham has been in contact with the Spanish climbers attempting to duplicate Mallory & Irvine's ascent of Everest (assuming they are looking for better results for themselves). Graham has provided them with information and looks forward to seeing them on Everest.

Graham expressed his desire that he could be the 16th or 17th climber from the UK to reach the Summit of Everest rather than the 15th. Graham Hoyland in a class act our friends !

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