Index of Daily North Side Dispatches As veteran climber and Everest summiter Eric Simonson leads an expedition on the North Ridge of Everest in a search for evidence of climbers missing since 1924, he and his team of high altitude mountaineers and historians will provide audio updates to The Mountain Zone via satellite phone. Their dispatches are archived below with the latest on top. Click on a headline to get the page with audio and a transcript of the call.
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Mallory's Body Photographed

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  • Mallory & Irvine: The Final Word
    Wed, January 19, 2000 — Hamburg, Germany
    "We also know that Mallory died on the descent, as he definitely had fallen from a point below the oxygen bottle location. The fall cannot readily be linked to the ice-axe location, however, as Mallory's injuries were less than those of more recent victims who had fallen all the way from the ridge crest..." —Jochen Hemmleb

    Last Call At The Rum Doodle
    Tue, June 1, 1999 — Boeing Somewhere Over the Pacific
    "These past weeks have been about as full as life can get, and that is without fine food, music, fast cars, clean clothes... all the other things that normally might make life interesting... It is fun now, brimming with confidence and optimism, to anticipate that all of those good things are just around the corner..." —Dave Hahn

    Mallory's Artifacts and The Continuing Search
    Tue, May 25, 1999 — Kathmandu, Nepal
    Expedition leader Eric Simonson holds a press conference in Kathmandu announcing plans for George Mallory's found artifacts and a follow-up search for Andrew Irvine and the camera.

    Report From The Border
    Sun, May 23, 1999 —Zhangmu, Tibet
    "On a gloomy Sunday morning that saw ragged streamers of low clouds drift through the deep gorge separating Nepal from Chinese Tibet, euphoric members of the 1999 Mallory & Irvine Research Expedition got one step closer to their homes..." — Peter Potterfield

    Zhangmu Rest Stop
    Sat, May 22, 1999 —Zhangmu, Tibet
    "We were on the road at 5am yesterday morning, just as it was getting to get dark, which was good because it took us a full 12 hours to get to Zhangmu... I had my final negotiations with our Chinese liaison officers, and looked through the bills and everything. So, by golly were good to go this morning..." — Eric Simonson

    Packing Up And Going Home
    Wed, May 20, 1999 —Base Camp, Rongbuk Glacier
    "I've got to admit that I lied the other night because when I said it was party time, we only had three beers for the entire group so it wasn't much of a party, but...oh well...everybody was still pretty happy..." — Eric Simonson

    Toasting A Job Well Done
    Tue, May 18, 1999 — ABC (21,300')
    "I am happy to report that today was a big day... Our climbers from Camp VI descended all the way to ABC... we have some really interesting information... some of the archaeological discoveries that were made up high..." — Eric Simonson

    All Safe After Epic Descent
    Mon, May 17, 1999 — 9:30pm Tibet Time
    "At about five o'clock this afternoon, when it became obvious that it was going to extend well past darkness, I sent Tap and Jake back up to meet Conrad and Dave... rest assured, everybody's doing okay, and they are safe at 8300 meters at Camp VI..." — Eric Simonson

    Hahn and Anker Summit in Whiteout
    Mon, May 17, 1999 — 3:30pm Tibet Time
    "It's been snowing hard for the last four hours, and since the Second Step, things have gotten quite difficult... Dave and Conrad reached the summit. It took them almost four hours from the Second Step, near whiteout conditions... they still have a long ways to go... So we're all not celebrating yet..." — Eric Simonson

    Anker Free Climbs Second Step
    Mon, May 17, 1999 — 11:00am Tibet Time
    "Jake and Tap and Ang Pasang and Dawa Nuru decided to turn back. After that Dave and Conrad continued to cross the traverse to the Second Step... ultimately Conrad was successful in free climbing the Second Step... They are now in route to the summit..." — Eric Simonson

    Above The First Step — 28,000'
    Mon, May 17, 1999 — 8:40am Tibet Time
    "Weather has taken a turn for the better... We just talked to the climbers on the radio and they report that they are currently... above the First Step... And they're taking a break right now... it's pretty cold..." — Eric Simonson

    Summit Bid Underway
    Mon, May 17, 1999 — 6:30am Tibet Time
    "The summit climbers got up at midnight and started climbing at a little after two o'clock this morning... despite some of the fresh snow, were able to gain the Northeast Ridge... Unfortunately... there's a lenticular over the summit..." — Eric Simonson

    Moving To Camp VI
    Sun, May 16, 1999 — ABC (21,300')
    "I'm happy to report that the weather has improved and today we are pulling the trigger on our climb... Once they get the tents up it will be time to brew and hydrate and get some food down in preparation for the climb tonight..." — Eric Simonson

    Holding Pattern At 25,000'
    Sat, May 15, 1999 — ABC (21,300')
    "Camp V reported winds so strong that they couldn't even stand up outside the tent... Our team remains at Camp V, and they're going to be spending their third night there tonight..." —Eric Simonson

    Pinned In At Camp V
    Fri, May 14, 1999 — ABC (21,300')
    "Andy was walking around here, or trying to, earlier. He called it at 80mph. I'm afraid to go out and see myself..." —Dave Hahn

    Big Winds Up High
    Fri, May 14, 1999 — ABC (21,300')
    "By the time they got up to Camp V in the later afternoon it was snowing and blowing... Right now everybody is hunkered down... We've been on the radio every hour to our team... They say they are experiencing hurricane winds..." —Eric Simonson

    Getting In Position For A Summit Bid
    Thu, May 13, 1999 — ABC (21,300')
    "We took a rest day after the Ukrainian rescue and yesterday put in the plans for our renewed searching and summit bids... we have a good strong team up there now... as we speak, they are en route to Camp V..." —Eric Simonson

    The Decisions That Matter
    Tue, May 11, 1999 — ABC (21,300')
    "Slava and the other Ukrainians got the injured man, snow blind and with frozen extremities, down to High Camp that day. A fairly monumental effort, by any stretch of the imagination..." —Dave Hahn

    Getting The Job Done
    Tue, May 11, 1999 — ABC (21,300')
    "They accomplished a thousand meters of lowering... each one from separate anchors to bring the frostbitten Ukrainian climber down to the Rongbuk Glacier... and all of this in the dark..." —Eric Simonson

    Rescue Underway
    Mon, May 10, 1999 — ABC (21,300')
    "It's quite a dreadful story unfolding right here on the north side... By the time they started down, the clouds had enveloped the mountain, and it was snowing hard... word is that one of them has frostbite up to his knees, and we don't know about the other one..." —Eric Simonson

    Giving Thanks and Looking Ahead
    Sat, May 8, 1999 — Base Camp, Rongbuk Glacier
    "Before we leave for one more trip to the Death Zone (I'm not trying to be melodramatic, but make no mistake, there is nothing trivial about hanging out at 27,000 feet and above). I wanted to thank one more time our sponsors... They had vision back when a lot of people were calling us crazy..." —Eric Simonson

    The Step: Drawbridge and Executioner
    Sat, May 8, 1999 — Base Camp, Rongbuk Glacier
    "If, on the way up, the Step is the drawbridge to the summit, on the way down, it is the executioner who will take a big swipe at you with a battle axe to keep you from the good life and the fields of green..." —Dave Hahn

    What We Found At The Mallory Site
    Fri, May 7, 1999 — Base Camp, Rongbuk Glacier
    "There have been questions about what, in fact, was found on George Mallory... I know there's been a lot of speculation and questions about various details, and for the record, let me just go through a couple odds and ends..." —Eric Simonson

    The Find After 75 Years [Part 2]
    Tue, May 4, 1999 — Base Camp, Rongbuk Glacier
    "Beneath that label was a neatly stitched one that said 'G. Mallory.' We stopped all work and looked in one another's faces... but our first utterances were along the lines of 'Why would Andrew Irvine be wearing George Mallory's shirt?'..." —Dave Hahn

    The Search at 27,000' [Part 1]
    Tue, May 4, 1999 — Base Camp, Rongbuk Glacier
    "The same condition that would make our search productive was making the climb in that direction difficult. No snow. It demanded more attention than snow walking, even after I eliminated the great drop-offs we were traversing from my consciousness...." —Dave Hahn

    Eric Simonson Q & A
    Tue, May 4, 1999 — Base Camp, Rongbuk Glacier
    "We were most optimistic about following his leads concerning the supposed position of Andrew Irvine's body...Instead, we broke new ground with the finding of Mallory..." —Eric Simonson

    Resting But Not Yet Done
    Tue, May 4, 1999 — Base Camp, Rongbuk Glacier
    "We're really pumped about our discovery...It's really gratifying...So on behalf of the team, I want to say thank you very much..."
    —Eric Simonson

    George Mallory's Body Found On Everest
    Sun, May 2, 1999 — ABC (21,300')
    George Mallory "I have some huge news to announce, so I hope everyone is sitting down and ready for this one. Our climbing and search team...has found the remains of George Mallory, lost on Mount Everest on June 8th, 1924..." —Eric Simonson

    Getting High on the North Ridge
    Thu, April 29, 1999 — ABC (21,300')
    "This morning, we're getting ready to move to Camp IV at the North Col in preparation for moving to Camp V and hopefully Camp VI..." —Eric Simonson

    Winds Howling
    Tue, April 27, 1999 — ABC (21,300')
    "The winds are just howling up above on the mountain, and the plume is really whipping off the peak...And it doesn't look very good..." —Eric Simonson

    Thinking of Cut Grass
    Mon, April 26, 1999 —ABC (21,300')
    "Clouds were swinging like those old lawn mower blades up on the Northeast Ridge and the cold gusts were finding their way all the way down to ABC. Having been spoiled in balmy BC, we spent the evening shivering and hunched up in lots of goose feathers..." —Dave Hahn

    Pushing and Searching
    Sun, April 25, 1999 — ABC (21,300')
    "The wind is still blowing...Our supplies are already up there, and now we just have to erect the tents and move in. From there, we're going to be pushing to establish high camp and also do some searching..." —Eric Simonson

    A Last Day Of Rest
    Sat, April 24, 1999 — Base Camp, Rongbuk Glacier
    "A famous mountaineer once advised me not to speculate when it came to other people's climbing accidents...We are all getting a little excited at the prospect that we might soon be able to add some real facts to this old mystery..." —Dave Hahn

    New Face, Old Place
    Sat, April 24, 1999 — ABC (21,300')
    "My view sweeps past the glistening ice walls and over the snowy crest of Everest's North Ridge to the dark-coloured rocks of the mountain's upper slopes...It's a perfect day for climbing to the North Col, and my mind seems to have totally blocked out any questions of "what if?" I'd simply go as far as I can..." —Jochen Hemmleb

    The Day I Met the Boss
    Fri, April 23, 1999 — Base Camp, Rongbuk Glacier
    "He was ripped from the crevasse and launched backward into a scary trajectory...Ed yelled, 'Come on you guys, Eric might be dead, MOVE IT!'...My first climbing lessons from four Everest summiters...what else was I going to become..." —Dave Hahn

    Back To Base Camp
    Thu, April 22, 1999 — Base Camp, Rongbuk Glacier
    "Human brains want great volumes of oxygen when they sleep. Take away the gas, kiss the sleep goodbye...This was a fine day to oversleep. I pictured the rest of the team asking each other if anybody'd seen me. Was I alright?..." —Dave Hahn

    Rugby Climb To Camp V
    Thu, April 22, 1999 — Base Camp, Rongbuk Glacier
    "Waking at the North Col is simple. Eating takes on a scenario which reminds me of eating vegetables my grandmother had overcooked...With a 'full belly,' I pull on my windsuit and head out to the North Ridge..." —Conrad Anker

    Archeology and Garbage
    Wed, April 21, 1999 — ABC (21,300')
    "With the exception of the mystery of Mallory and Irvine, we donít need the artifacts and archeology to tell us things about them that we donít know...these artifacts provide us, especially when studied in conjunction with old photos and historical accounts, is a snapshot view of a remarkable age..." —Eric Simonson

    A Fine Day In The Hills
    Wed, April 21, 1999 — ABC (21,300')
    "When I first got to the site, the first thing I noticed was a 1960ís era tent...My first guess was the old tent was fine cotton. Upon closer inspection, the fabric could be silk! The bronze tent pegs design reminded me of vintage English yachts..." —Andy Politz

    Fixed Ropes to Camp V
    Tue, April 20, 1999 — ABC (21,300')
    "The route is now fixed all the way to Camp V, and today we have established on the climbing route approximately 2500 meters of fixed rope...the final big push putting in Camp VI and going high on the mountain for summit..." —Eric Simonson

    High Winds and Mystery Camp
    Sat, April 17, 1999 — ABC (21,300')
    "At about Seven AM they were out of camp intent on climbing when they ran into that 100 mile-an-hour wind and had to turn back...They hammered out a route, roping it as they went, to 25,000'...and had everybody dreaming that they might make the final 700 feet into Camp V today..." —Dave Hahn

    English Artifacts Found
    Fri, April 16, 1999 — ABC (21,300')
    "We had a really interesting time checking out a camp that Andy Politz found a few days ago, which we think dates possibly back to the thirties and the British... We found several old tents, old ice screws, and tent pegs..." —Eric Simonson

    To the Upper Camps
    Fri, April 16, 1999 — ABC (21,300')
    "It's been really windy, but nonetheless, we've been able to make great progress. Yesterday, our Sherpas went up to the North Col and today, pushed the fixed ropes all the way up to 25,000 feet..." —Eric Simonson

    Laying the Path
    Tue, April 13, 1999 — Base Camp, Rongbuk Glacier
    "We have been enjoying exceptional weather, which leads us all to become very worried because it seems like the weather right now is what it should be like in the middle of May...climbers headed up to ABC to join Andy Politz and the Sherpas who have been working on the North Col..." —Eric Simonson

    Climbing the Col
    Tue, April 13, 1999 — ABC (21,500')
    "They were puzzling over how to tackle the task. Their puzzling was verging on the kind done with boots and spikes. Pa Nuru and Ang Pasang wanted to get half way up to the Col as a way of seeing whether a jumbo crevasse could be skirted on its left..." —Dave Hahn

    Cares Dropping Off Like Falling Leaves
    Mon, April 12, 1999 — ABC (21,500')
    "Boundless optimism, boundless energy, visions of great glacial ranges, favorite tunes streaming into my headset... it all made me reflect on how many times in the past month or two I'd had to try to answer somebody and their big "Why?" question..." —Dave Hahn

    The Perils of High Altitude
    Mon, April 12, 1999 — Base Camp, Rongbuk Glacier
    "This disruption of blood flow resulted in the left side of his body going partially numb...I have seen many times people with vision problems, the loss of speech, dizziness, confusion, and partial paralysis..." —Eric Simonson

    Hammer Swinging and Rope Stringing
    Sun, April 11, 1999 — Base Camp, Rongbuk Glacier
    "Andy Politz is up doing solo battle with the North Col...The Sherpa team is taking the day off up at ABC today, where Dawa reported big howling winds'...Conrad, Jake, and Thom made those carry's possible by completing the route and hammering in a tent at the Col the day before..." —Dave Hahn

    The Advanced Base Camp Chat Room
    Fri, April 9, 1999 — ABC (21,500')
    Simonson, Hahn and the climbers pass around the sat-phone inside the cold weatherport in Camp III (Advanced Base Camp) at 21,500' on the Rongbuk Glacier.

    The Sporty Route to the North Col
    Tue, April 6, 1999 — Base Camp, Rongbuk Glacier
    "Since there's been so little snow in the Himalayas this year, the route is almost all blue ice. So it sounds like it's going to be quite sporty, and hopefully generate some great pictures..." —Eric Simonson

    The Push to ABC
    Sun, April 4, 1999 — Base Camp, Rongbuk Glacier
    "They spent the first night at Intermediate Camp, which is about 19,000', and yesterday, pushed on in to Advanced Base Camp...right now, the ABC crew is working on establishing that camp, which includes setting up our big Weatherport Tent which is quite complicated..." —Eric Simonson

    Mountain Buddhism
    Fri, April 2, 1999 — Base Camp, Rongbuk Glacier
    "Some of the guys smuggled their ice axes or crampons on to the blessing pile. I noticed Phinjo Sherpa, our oldest, most experienced and most humble climber, working a few extra prayers in, throwing extra offerings on the sly. Looking around from Sherpas, to Climbers to Lamas, to the 29,000' summit of Everest invading the southern sky, it would be hard to be cynical..." —Dave Hahn

    Base Camp 1999: Wired and Humming
    Wed, March 31, 1999 — Base Camp, Rongbuk Glacier
    "Its great to get back here, and Iíve been having some heavy deja vu experience, thinking back to past trips. Right now we are the only team at Base Camp, just like the old days..." —Eric Simonson

    Base Camp: Home On The Rongbuk
    Tue, March 30, 1999 — Base Camp, Rongbuk Glacier
    "Today, we've been making yak loads in preparation for our yak drivers who are coming in a couple of days... Everybody did well after their first night at 17,000 feet. Tomorrow we expect to do more of the same, making up loads for our 42 yaks that will be here" —Eric Simonson

    Like From Winnemucca to Elko
    Tue, March 30, 1999 — Base Camp, Rongbuk Glacier
    "We kept our eyes pretty steadily on the North Face of Mount Everest. It was a beautiful, cloud-free morning and the mountain was standing proud and quiet over everything. A loud and clear "Bring it on!!!" seemed to be coming from that direction..." —Dave Hahn

    In Tingri and Base Camp Bound
    Sun, March 28, 1999 — Tingri, Tibet
    "We have spent the day resting here in Tingri at about 14,300 feet, and we went for a hike this morning and enjoyed beautiful morning views of the Himalayas including Cho-Oyu and Everest..." —Eric Simonson

    Training The Elite Climber Way
    Sat, March 27, 1999 — Nyalam, Tibet
    "Few climbers would want that air getting in their lungs any more than it has to. One-arm push-ups... No." —Dave Hahn

    Portable Mountain Chunks Above, River Below
    Fri, March 26, 1999 — Nyalam, Tibet
    Eric Simonson "I love the way it goes under huge overhanging rock bulges streaming with runoff water. If I were making a sand fortress, I'd build the approach on such terrain so that I could roll rocks down on unwanted visitors..." —Dave Hahn

    12,000' and Climbing
    Thu, March 25, 1999 — Nyalam, Tibet
    "Today we hit snow for the first time. We were fortunate however that the roads were in reasonably good shape and that no avalanches had blocked them..." —Eric Simonson

    Motorcycles and Bureaucrats
    Zhangmu
    Wed, March 24, 1999 — Zhangmu, Tibet
    "Then we hit the road. Rush hour in the hills surrounding Kathmandu was interesting. There were trucks and buses in various ditches along the way, but otherwise, it was a good ride.." —Dave Hahn

    Border Crossing from Nepal to Tibet
    Tue, March 23, 1999 — Zhangmu, Tibet
    "On Tuesday we entered Tibet.... we will be traveling up the canyon of the Bhotekosi River which is thousands of feet deep and the road is literally cut into the walls of the cliff...in the past, on many expeditions, we have had trouble with snow avalanches and also rock avalanches..." —Eric Simonson

    Puja in Kathmandu
    Sun, March 21, 1999 — Kathmandu, Nepal
    "We are going to meet the Rinpoche from Thyangboche who is down here and have our Kathmandu puja. We will also buy prayer flags and juniper and some rice and items for our Puja at Base Camp..." —Eric Simonson

    From the Rooftop of the Hotel Manaslu
    Sat, March 20, 1999 — Kathmandu, Nepal
    "Today we've been busy, we met with the Sherpas first thing in the morning, we sorted equipment, we made some lists, we had a meeting and discussed salary and equivalent money and bonuses that are gonna be paid to the Sherpas..." —Eric Simonson

    The Kathmandu Duffle Shuffle
    Sat, March 20, 1999 — Kathmandu, Nepal
    "The climbers, trying to keep the excitement from their voices and working hard (and with little success) to distinguish themselves from gawking, finger pointing, camera wielding tourists, commented on how little snow seemed to cover the upper mountain..." —Dave Hahn

    Climbing The Second Step Without the Ladder
    Tue, March 16, 1999 — Ashford, Washington
    "The Chinese in 1960 made the only documented ascent of the Second Step without the ladder, which was placed by the Chinese in 1975 and has been used by every North Ridge climber since then..." —Eric Simonson

    Round One Ends on THAI Air
    Mon, March 15, 1999 — Ashford, Washington
    "The departure is a bittersweet moment of anticipation, excitement, and fear. Walking down the jetway to the big bird is another one of those tangible moments that bookends the whole experience..." —Eric Simonson

    My Mountain Isn't About Death
    Wed, March 10, 1999 — Ashford, Washington
    "Leaving home and having to explain it is still done solo. For me, it was about driving out of Taos, New Mexico..." —Dave Hahn



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    The Mountain Zone visited Simonson in his hometown of Ashford, Washington a few days before he and his teammates were to leave for Kathmandu. Click your connection speed to view the video.
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