Everest Mystery Chopper - it's the summit alright!

Posted: Jun 08, 2005 04:05 am EDT

In a recent 5 part ExWeb series, mountaineering historian Jochen Hemmleb, co-author of "Ghosts of Everest: The Search for Mallory and Irvine"; and "Detectives on Everest: The 2001 Mallory and Irvine Research Expedition", offered an interesting insight in the battle to find the true fate of Mallory and Irvine (find the stories in the links section).

Jochen and researcher Pete Poston introduced the mystery, presented their own updated theory, and criticism of the EverestNews Theory - resting on an unidentified climber in an unrevealed location, lacking clear data and involving some serious climbing stunts.

Landing without permit

This past weekend, Jochen found reason to check in with ExplorersWeb again. This time - over the disputed Everest summit by the Mystery chopper.

The dispute came as a surprise to those of us who have been up there - it sure looked like the summit to us. Turns out that the chopper didn't have Nepal's permit to do the landing, and thus didn't admit to it until after arrival back in France - hence the long time before the press release.

Checking the video

To be sure though, Jochen investigated the summit video. Here are his results:

"Now that the Everest Helicopter Summit has been disputed, I was curious to see what the Eurocopter video actually shows and whether it can be matched with Everest summit views. The attached images were extracted in chronological order and appear in the same succession as in the video."

"The identification of certain landmarks in those images is in fact almost self-explanatory: Several landmarks, in particular the distinctive summit of Changzheng Peak (situated between the Main and East Rongbuk Valleys), remain visible throughout each depicted stage of the flight, i.e. the approach, landing and take-off."

Classic summit view

"Some of the images taken from near the summit during the last stages of the approach match the classic summit view to the North and Northeast, from the Main Rongbuk Valley to the summit of Khartaphu."

"Also visible in the last stages of the approach and in the summit images is a red object, the exact nature of which (a Poisk bottle?) might be verified by climbers' summit pictures taken this spring."

"As the helicopter takes off from the summit, the view opens to the North Col and the ENE-Ridge of Changtse (overlooking the East Rongbuk ABC), again matching the classic summit view to the Northeast. Also visible is the West Shoulder, matching photographs by Edmund Hillary and Hornbein & Unsoeld."

"So does the video show the summit of Everest and did the helicopter land on it? Without any doubt."

Jochen

Names and their spelling according to the N:G:S: map of Everest. Video captions courtesy of Eurocopter.







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Image 1 approaching the summit (click to enlarge)
Image 2 approaching the summit (click to enlarge)
Image 3 approaching the summit (click to enlarge)
Image 4 approaching the summit (click to enlarge)
Image 5 approaching the summit (click to enlarge)
Image 6 on the summit (click to enlarge)
Image 7 on the summit (click to enlarge)

Image 9 leaving the summit , back view (click to enlarge)
Image 10 leaving the summit, cockpit view (click to enlarge)
Image 11 leaving the summit (click to enlarge)
Image 12 leaving the summit (click to enlarge)
Image 13 leaving the summit (click to enlarge).

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