At 08:40 on June 6, 1924, George Mallory accompanied by Sandy Irvine moved out of Camp IV. In front of them, eight porters brought oxygen cylinders and several other logistical supplies. The purpose of this morning’s trip is Camp V, where the Mallory team will spend the night and then continue the journey to Camp VI the next day.
Before Mallory and Irvine left for Camp V, Noel Odell had time to take a photo of the two from the front. The photo later became the final close-up of Mallory and Irvine.
Arriving at Camp V, four porters descended back to Camp IV. One of the porters Mallory left a slip of paper to hand over to Odell or Norton.
“There is no wind here, and everything looks hopeful”
As previously planned, Noel Odell will be climbing to support the top team. So on the morning of June 7, 1924, Noel Odell and a sherpa marched towards Camp V.
Not long after arriving at Camp V, four porters who had just descended from Camp VI arrived. One of the porters carried a message from Mallory that said the weather was good and perfect for the climb. Although in the same letter, Mallory also apologized to Odell for leaving Camp V in such a mess that one of their cooking utensils had fallen into the Rongbuk gorge.
On June 8, 1924, Noel Odell awoke from his sleep at Camp V at six in the morning. That night the wind was calm and there was no storm, so he could spend the night sleeping quite soundly.
At eight o’clock in the morning he began his ascent towards Camp VI, but the fog suddenly clouded his eyes so he could not clearly see the North East ridge planned for the Mallory and Irvine ascent route. At 7,900 meters, Odell decided to climb a small stone step high enough to see if he could spot Mallory and Irvine from above.
At 12:50 pm, the thick fog suddenly disappeared from Everest. And from behind his glasses Odell saw two small dots moving towards the Second Step which is the last base of the pyramid at the top of Everest. In a further note Odell even said that when the weather was clear, he saw two small black dots moving over the snow ridge moving towards the last part of the Everest pyramid.
After getting this vision, Odell continued his journey towards Camp VI where he found the tent condition in disarray. At two o’clock in the afternoon, a significant blizzard began to rage around the summit of Everest.
Noel Odell immediately got out of the tent and hoped to help Irvine and Mallory who he believed must be on their way down. Odell whistled, shouted, banged on cookware, hoping that Mallory and Irvine could hear his voice and help the two find the correct route to their tent at Camp VI.
However, Odell’s actions could not be carried out in a long duration because the wind and cold were so intense that Odell returned to take refuge in Camp VI.
At about four o’clock in the afternoon, the storm stopped and the sky began to clear again. Odell came back out of the tent again to survey the mountains and pyramids around Everest. But after a long time of looking and observing, Odell saw nothing but the ridge and the cold, frozen rock of Everest.
Previously, Mallory had told Noel Odell that Camp VI could only accommodate two people, so if Mallory and Irvine returned, Camp VI would be filled with three people, and that would make things difficult.
Since it had been agreed between Odell and Mallory that he would descend to Camp IV on the North Col that very afternoon, at about half past five in the afternoon Noel Odell left Camp VI. Because he was walking quite fast and had been back and forth in the area several times, Odell reached Camp IV at 06:45 in the afternoon when conditions were starting to get dim in the twilight.
Until the next day there had been no sign of Mallory and Irvine having returned. Because it was around 03:30 pm, Odell again decided to climb to Camp V accompanied by two porters. At Camp V Odell and his porter stayed overnight, while the next day Odell again hiked alone to Camp VI.
Arriving at Camp VI, Noel Odell found that the camp conditions had not changed at all, just like before he left two days ago to go down to Camp IV.
From Camp VI Odell decided to climb higher to 8,200 meters in search of Mallory and Irvine trails. However, after searching for a long time, Noel Odell did not find any traces around the place.
Before leaving Camp VI, Odell spread the blanket in a cross over the snow, which was a signal to be sent to Advance Base Camp which meant “No traces found, no hope, and awaiting orders”.
On June 11, 1924, Odell and some of the porters still at Camp IV moved down from the North Col to end the expedition.
Less than a week later, all members of the British expedition stood at the altar of the Rongbuk monastery to bid farewell to the Lama (monk). All members of the expedition such as Noel Odell, Edward Norton, Howard Somervell, Granville Bruce, John Noel and the others stood solemnly in that place.
The only two members of the 1924 British expedition who were not seen standing there were George Mallory and Sandy Irvine. Both have been lost in the nirvana of Chomolungma, nobody knows what happened to them.
Most of the articles in this blog are translated by Google Translate from Indonesian-language mountaineering books written by Anton Sujarwo
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