Hoyland and the BBC
Hoyland and the BBC returned to Everest
in Spring 2000 in search of in search of Andrew Irvine and the camera lost in
the 1924 expedition.
For anyone who does not know, Graham's role is a little different than many climbers,
in that, he is an employee of the BBC. Graham is a producer for the BBC.
Graham officially announced the Expedition in his
the Mystery of George Mallory in Washington D.C.
Graham Hoyland Q&A 7/19/2000 on his Mallory
& Irvine 2000 Expedition !
Q.) What did you find? We got bits and pieces on
the web site, but please give us details.
A.) [Graham Hoyland] Russell and I failed
miserably to find anything on Everest this spring.
Just as our 1999 trip had abnormal weather, this
spring seemed unusual in the amount of snow, wind and
cold. One of the locals said it was the worst he'd
seen in 20 years. What was interesting is that we flew
very close to the mountain on our way to Lhasa, and at
that point (late March) it was black and fairly
snow-free. This would suggest that it's very hard to
predict what weather you're going to have until you
actually get there. We even had to raft across the
glacier-lake on the way back! In the moraine I found
yards of the telephone wire that was laid from ABC up
to the North Col by the British pre-war.
Russell gave me some tent poles (cane and hardwood)
with copper sleeves, some green tent canvas and some
guy-lines with wooden tighteners. He'd found these
over the years and stashed them in his cave at one of
the high camps. But the best thing he gave me was an
unopened hand-soldered food-can which still contains
some mystery food. Any bright ideas on how to find out
what's in it without opening it? Beans, I guess. All
this stuff looks '20's or '30's. So there you have it:
we went out there and came back with a can of beans.
I'm sure Sandy would find it funny, too.
Q.) Did you get to search the area where you were
A.) [Graham Hoyland] No, it dumped with
snow so deep that we couldn't get through it, and if
we had reached the area there was too much snow cover
to find anything, despite the fact that we had metal
detectors with us.
Q.) Could you tell us if your latest expedition was
able to locate the remains of the 1924 Camp 6 ?
A.) [Graham Hoyland] No, for the same
reasons as above.
Q.) What do you know about reports that the camp
was moved higher up by M&I as told to Capt.
John Noel by Lakpa Sherpa?
A.) [Graham Hoyland] Interesting theory...but
Audrey Salkeld suggests that perhaps what he saw was
Mallory setting off in the early afternoon of the 7th
to do a recce for the next day's summit attempt.
Q.) Why do you think there have been numerous
expeditions to remove trash, but none to remove or
A.) [Graham Hoyland] I think many of the
so-called "clean-up" expeditions are in fact
excuses to raise money to get on the mountain. Russell
and his clients found themselves clearing up 20
yak-loads of rubbish left at ABC after an expedition
had left for home. They had picked up some
oxygen bottles, which are clean and easily sold
back at home.
Q.) I am truly fascinated by the entire
Mallory/Irvine mystique. Thank you for the wonderful
job you have personally done in attempting to answer
some of the numerous questions about George
Mallory and Sandy Irvine's attempt at the summit
on June 8, 1924.
I have not heard too much about John Noel's
involvement in that expedition. I do understand he was
the official cinematographer and filmaker for the 1924
Mt. Everest Expedition and if not for him offering to
put up a great sum of money the expedition might not
have happened that year. My question has to do with
the postcards he created and sent from Rongbuk Glacier
Base Camp, Mt. Everest during the expedition to
advertise his film of the expedition which was to be
shown in the Scala Theatre, London in November 1924. I
have also read somewhere that John Noel and George
Mallory shared a tent together either at base camp or
further up the mountain at one of the lower camp
sites. Would George Mallory, Sandy Irvine or any of
the other climbers including your great-uncle, Howard
Somervell, have helped Noel in addressing any of the
postcards that were sent out?
A.) [Graham Hoyland] I'm sure they would.
Careful comparison of handwriting would be an
interesting exercise. You'll find examples of
Mallory's handwriting in the many books on the '20's
Q.) I am in possession of one of the original
postcards which happened to be mailed to an
individual in Holland in June 1924 and obviously I
would appreciate any information you could
provide about these wonderful postcards.
A.) [Graham Hoyland] Our BBC expedition
of 1990 had the same postcards printed up- it's a
lovely and unusual angle on Everest. Sandra Noel might
Q.) What is next ? do you go back ?
A.) [Graham Hoyland] I don't know...when I
was there I thought I'm wasting my time....I worked
out .... I've spent a year of my life living on that
mountain. But it keeps drawing you back. Why? I can't
say. Family connections, habit, the mystery. Some
affection, too. It's an arena where you see
human beings at the ragged edge of their lives. The
mountain brings out the very best and very worst in
people. You see men behaving like heroes and like
villains. You see violent death and some of the most
beautiful things on earth.
Q.) What is your current theory on what happened
A.) [Graham Hoyland] I think Mallory
fell off, and they died.