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April 19, 2021 50 min

The man with more boots-on-the-ground experience searching in the Death Zone for clues to the Mystery of Mallory & Irvine, Jake Norton, is our guest today. 

Jake was 25 when we first met on Mount Everest in 1999. He first climbed Mount Rainier with his dad at age 12. By age 18 he was guiding for Rainier Mountaineering and soon was leading international climbs around the world. 

Although we were living in two different worlds in 1999, I with a son and a house, he as a guide with a camera. We were natural friends, seeing eye to eye on topics of the day, spirituality, politics, having been brought together by a reverence for all things Everest. 

To date, Jake has been on Eight Everest expeditions, summiting three times….with the rare distinction of having made the top from the north and south.

This interview is a rare look into the greatest mystery in all of adventure, Did Mallory & Irvine make it to the summit of Everest in 1924?   Jake himself has been on five search expeditions (four of them officially) for Mallory and Irvine, and personally has experience than any human being alive or otherwise in the search for clues to the mystery of their disappearance. 

In 1999 Jake found the first clue during our historic expedition, in which I was the high altitude cameraman: an oxygen bottle from the 1975 Chinese expedition, during which Wang Hung-bao found Mallory's remains. ON THAT SAME DAY, After an hour and 45 minutes, Conrad Anker hopped on the radio, calling a mandatory team meeting. In a 2012 interview with Outside Online, Jake said about the discovery, Conrad  “was about 50 meters away from me, frantically waving his ice ax above his head. I walked over and happened by proximity to get there first, and there was Conrad, standing silently above the remains of a fallen hero: exactly as he appears in my photo from the cover of Outside. It was the most humbling experience of my climbing career, and one that will stay with me forever.” 

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