Searching and Sharing


June 2023
What has been searched - and found - on Mount Everest in the quest for Mallory & Irvine? Where have climbers gone over the years, both in search capacity and simply climbing? And, why build and share any of this anyway? This post and project aims to bring that all together.

The explorers of the past were great men and we should honor them. But let us not forget that their spirit still lives on. It is still not hard to find a man who will adventure for the sake of a dream or one who will search, for the pleasure of searching, and not for what he may find.

- Sir Edmund Hillary -

I’ve been asked more than once over the years why I’ve not only spent so much time, energy, experience on the story of Everest 1924 and the mystery of George Mallory and Andrew Irvine, but also why I’ve spent equal time and energy to share my thoughts, research, and findings.

I guess I don’t have a really good answer to that aside from a non-answer: it just feels right. And I enjoy it.

Sid Pattison stands atop a rock tower north of The Warts on the Northeast Ridge of Mount Everest, Tibet. Click for full-size version.

Add into that mix my personal conviction that any information, any pondering, any quest is greatly improved when brought into the public eye, the dust of individual presupposition and bias brushed off, the data opened up for fresh eyes, sharp minds, outside perspectives, and new thoughts…well, again, it just feels right, and it just makes sense.

A month ago, Maria Popova (The Marginalian) shared a wonderful couple passages from John Steinbeck’s The Log from the Sea of Cortez (library) that points to this idea:

As always when one is collecting, we were soon joined by a number of small boys. The very posture of search, the slow movement with the head down, seems to draw people. “What did you lose?” they ask.


“Then what do you search for?” And this is an embarrassing question. We search for something that will seem like truth to us; we search for understanding; we search for that principle which keys us deeply into the pattern of all life; we search for the relations of things, one to another, as this young man searches for a warm light in his wife’s eyes and that one for the hot warmth of fighting. These little boys and young men on the tide flat do not even know that they search for such things too. We say to them, “We are looking for curios, for certain small animals.”

Then the little boys help us to search...

Small boys have such sharp eyes, and they are quick to notice deviation. Once they know you are generally curious, they bring amazing things. Perhaps we only practice an extension of their urge. It is easy to remember when we were small and lay on our stomachs beside a tide pool and our minds and eyes went so deeply into it that size and identity were lost, and the creeping hermit crab was our size and the tiny octopus a monster. Then the waving algae covered us and we hid under a rock at the bottom and leaped out at fish. It is very possible that we, and even those who probe space with equations, simply extend this wonder.

- John Steinbeck, The Log from the Sea of Cortez (library)

New eyes, new thoughts, new discoveries. In a simplified form, as Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord put it (reiterated a century later by Carl Sandburg):

“There is one body that knows more than anybody, and that is everybody.”

- Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

So, I create and I share the info below because it feels right, because I’m passionate about the story and the mystery of what transpired a century ago high on Everest, and I operate under the deep conviction that I don’t have all the questions or the answers, nor the capacity to see them in the first place. As with so much in life, collaboration is key, sharing rather than hoarding yields bounty.

On to the point: The project that never dies!

Back in 2022, I built out and shared with you all an interactive project showing all the searches and items of interest found on Everest from 1999-2019. Many of you were happy about it and found it useful, but - as hoped - there were many suggestions on how to make it better.

In April 2023, I shared an updated version with two additional views of the mountain rather than simply the original, top-down satellite view. Much better I think, but still not perfect.

After another round of great suggestions, I went back to Pano2VR and added a lot more based on your suggestions and my own trains of thought.

The Everest Searches Project

The result? The same three views of Everest, but now including all (or close to all) the routes attempted/climbed on the mountain from 1922-2019, plus some additional archival highlights from before 1999.

As you can see at right, the project is pretty busy with a lot of information and data from 100 years of history. But, have no fear, I did my best to simplify things with coded buttons at the bottom that will turn on and off all the information.

The default setting is everything "on," but you can just toggle the "all" button at bottom to turn everything off. From there, you can view data by year for searches, from 1999-2019, by clicking on the year buttons. You can have multiple years displayed, or go one year at a time, etc.

Control buttons for the Searches Project data

Additionally, in this new version, I added three buttons on the right, R, H, and F. H will turn on and off the "historic" markers, which are points of interest from pre-1999 that relate to the 1924 expedition. The R button will show or hide all the climbing routes on the North Side of Everest. And F shows or hides prominent and important features on the upper mountain.

As always, the project is not perfect, and undoubtedly has some missing data. So, take a look, enjoy, and let me know what you think, what questions you have, suggestions, things I missed or forgot, etc!

And, a final note: For some reason, the embedded version of the project below is having some issues, so if you're experiencing weirdness, either try another browser (Chrome is notoriously bad for this), or you can go here to view the project on it's own page.


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