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Chapter 30 Chapter 27 The Big Mystery

Everest Epic 佛蘭西斯.楊赫斯本 2786Words 2023-02-05
A big question mark remained: had Malory and Irving reached the summit? When they were last seen by Audell, it was quite behind in time.It was twelve fifty, and they were at least eight hundred feet, or a thousand feet, from the summit.O'Dell wasn't quite sure where he saw them.It was just a fleeting glimpse through the gaps in the churning clouds.On the jagged ridge of a ridge, the position is not easy to pinpoint.But in any case, they were far below where Malory had expected to be.In fact, he himself had expected that by that time he would have reached the top of the mountain. Then we must first explore the reasons for their delay to see if there are any factors that allow us to conclude that they will not reach the top of the mountain.O'Dell has thoroughly discussed the matter.First of all, it will be recalled that the day Malory tried to reach the summit, the weather was not as good as it was the day Norton and Somerwell made the highest sprint, but a storm with clouds.Already two thousand feet below them, O'Dell encountered violent winds, biting cold, and dense fog.When the mist parted for a moment and he could see the summit clearly, he noticed that the rocks near the highest ridge were covered with a fair amount of freshly fallen snow.This may be one of the reasons for their delay.

Another reason may be the weight of the oxygen equipment.In his last message to the Sixth Battalion, Malory had cursed the annoying burden of the climb.In fact the words he used were more violent than swear words.Carrying such bulky equipment on your back, walking across the rock slabs covered with gravel and fine snow may encounter many difficulties.Furthermore, the oxygen equipment itself might need repairs or adjustments, and whether this happened before or after leaving the 6th Battalion, it was likely to delay their time.At the same time, it is conceivable, though unlikely, that the clouds encountered by O'Dell might have extended to their altitude, thereby hampering their progress.

It's possible that one or all of these factors got in the way, preventing them from climbing to higher ground in time, O'Dell said.But when he saw them, they were moving swiftly, as if trying to make back lost time.The word agile is particularly noteworthy. The result: at 12:50, they were eight hundred or a thousand feet from the summit.They should reach the top of the mountain by four o'clock at the latest, so as to have sufficient time to return safely to the camp.Both Malory and Norton agree on this point.Can they climb that height in three hours? That would mean that from where Ordell saw them, they would have to go up at a rate of about three hundred feet an hour.Norton and Somerwell never achieved this rate without the use of oxygen.From the 6th Battalion to the highest point they had ever reached, their ascent rate was only 205 feet an hour.But if they had used oxygen, they might have progressed faster, and, as we have noted, they were moving briskly up when Ordell saw them, so that the rate of three hundred feet an hour was It can be counted on, and faster speeds than this are also possible.

But is it possible that they encountered some serious obstacle on their way to the summit and failed at the last moment?This seems unlikely.If anything, Ordell thinks there are only two places that could cause trouble.The first one is what the expedition called the second step.It looks steep here, but it can be crossed from the north side of it.Another possible source of difficulty is the overhanging slabs at the base of the Ultimate Pyramid that must be traversed to ascend the relatively gentle slopes leading to the summit.Norton had said earlier that the location required special care.However, as O'Dell said, the difficulties at this site are still quite moderate, and it is impossible to delay too much time for an experienced and skilled mountaineering leader like Malory, let alone defeat him.Therefore, there is no substantial obstacle that can prevent them from climbing to the top.

Of course, the oxygen equipment can also go wrong, bringing their rates down to those of Norton and Somerwell.But O'Dell believes that it is impossible for them to completely collapse if they stop using oxygen: when he himself used oxygen to walk from the fifth camp to the sixth camp, he turned off the oxygen at about 26,000 feet and continued to walk up , and then descend without oxygen.Malory and Irwin were using very little oxygen and had spent much of the preceding weeks at extreme altitudes, above 21,000 feet, in order to fully acclimatize, so it was not Too likely to lose due to oxygen problems.

The rest of the reasons that may prevent them from climbing to the top of the mountain are accidents.Even the most experienced mountaineer can slip and fall.According to his own observations, on the rocks near the summit, where they were last seen, the roped pair should have slipped badly and would have been the ruin of both.And on that fateful day, the sloping rock slabs were thick with fresh snow, making falls much more likely. It is possible that some or all of these factors prevented Malory and Irwin from reaching the summit; but it is also possible that they did not prevent them from reaching the summit, but only prevented their safe return to the Sixth Battalion.They may have reached the summit, only to die on the way back.Norton and all the rest of the regiment, except Ordell, blamed slipping for the failure of the two men.But slipping can also happen on the way down the mountain.It is more likely to slip and fall on the way down the mountain, because at that time their physical strength is weaker, but they move faster. Perhaps because of their high spirits, they are a little more careless than when they went up the mountain.

They may not even reach the summit until after four o'clock.According to Norton, on the descent, Malory made clear his determination to turn back at the best time, no matter how close he was to the summit, to ensure a safe return journey.Because he knows that as a team leader, he has such a heavy responsibility. No matter how close to the summit!But had Malory ever correctly estimated the charm of that hill?He understands well how Everest is good at resisting, but does he also understand how it is good at attracting?Had he correctly estimated his susceptibility to the allure of the summit at close range?It may be imagined that he has climbed to the top of the ultimate pyramid, or that he is only a hundred feet from the top of the tower, less than two hundred yards away. At this time, he looks at his watch, it is four o'clock in the afternoon, he Will you put away the watch and go back?Even if he has superhuman self-control, can his young teammates be so self-control?Could it be that Irving once said: I don't care what happens.I want to go up quickly.Then, can Malory hold on?Could it be that he would rather throw himself out with a joyous relaxation?

That was indeed how some people thought on the matter, and so did O'Dell, who, since he himself had been within the range of the seductive divergence of that hilltop, thought his friends must have been bewitched by it.He said of Malory that once he got into action, his desire to conquer perhaps became too strong.He knew that he and his companions had proven great stamina, and perhaps it was this that drove him to make a bold attack on that hill.And those of us who have wrestled against the giant peaks of the Alps in the face of a storm, or raced against the night in the mountains, can we resolutely give up when such a glorious victory is so close at hand?

So O'Dell believes that Malory and Irwin may have made it to the summit, but walked into the night on the return journey. One might wonder why, in that case, they didn't use the signal lights they carried with them?But they probably forgot they had it; or didn't think to use it; more likely, they didn't signal for help out of chivalry.They must know that once the signal is sent, it will only drag Odell to the height of 27,000 feet again, and then go up, no doubt.No one can catch up in time to be effective.But they did their best, and whether they survived or not, one will be sure that they did.They must have died with such confidence.

When and where they died, we don't know, but they will forever lie in the arms of Mount Everest 10,000 feet higher than any previous burial.It is true that Everest conquered their bodies, but their spirits will not die.Henceforth, anyone who climbs the high mountains of the Himalayas will think of Malory and Irwin.
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