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Photographer of 1924 Expedition to Speak at Union Tomorrow Night--Will Describe Final Dash of Intrepid Explorers for Height No Man Has Reached


The story of the 1924 expedition which attempted to reach the top of Mt. Everest, "The Goddess of the World", will be told at the Union Tomorrow night by Capt. J. B. Noel, the official photographer of the expedition.

The long adventurous trip made by the band of over 500 explorers which culminated in the last climb of Irvine and Mallory who after coming within 800 feet of their goal were overwhelmed by the snow, proved of high value from the standpoint of the naturalist and scientist although Mt. Everest was not conquered. The pictures taken by Capt. Noel in his official capacity contain kaleidoscopic records of people and customs still unknown even to the professional travelogue lecturers.

When asked for a short resume of the outstanding features in the trip which will be pictured at the Union, Capt. Noel described the story of the trip in brief as it is here given.

"While travelling through a community of Tibetans the expedition was held up by a religious ceremony which involved supplications and sacrifices to a living man believed to be a reincarnation of Buddha himself. The deity was induced to pose for my camera and I was able to bring back a living record for the silver screen.

Took Last Picture of Mallory

"Of course the most thrilling thing in my pictorial record is the series of pictures we took of Irvine and Mallory when they climbed up into the snow and out of sight.

"The expedition had climbed as high as it could go with all the supplies and paraphernalia and had established a base camp from which the final run for the top could be made. Two hundred yaks, nearly 500 native porters and 11 white men made up the caravan which worked its way from one supply camp to another and finally had to dig in, itself. A camp rapidly grew up and the yaks and porters were left there while a few of the best porters continued on to the 22,000 foot level. Curiously enough, one of the porters who reached the high level carrying a 40-pound burden the same as the men. Only six of the entire native force were able to climb up from the next stage, at the 24,000 foot level. When finally only the last step remained to be made much time was spent in waiting for a day on which the wind seemed low enough to allow Irvine and Mallory to make the run for their goal. The day came, as clear as crystal and the snow so rigid that it crackled underfoot. Very early in the morning the two fearless assistants started out.

"From where our highest camp was stationed we could watch them climbing and with the powerful telescopic lens of my camera I knew that I would be able to take pictures of them even at the very top. The lens were good for the distance of two and a half miles.

Air Tanks Hard to Handle

"Irvine and Mallory were equipped with oxygen tanks to allow them to breatho in the highly rarified atmosphere and these tanks were a trifle clumsy to handle.

"Of course they were warmly dressed but care had to be taken to prevent the furs encumbering their movements.

"After they had gone some distance we started taking photographs which show clearly the difficulties they were working under. Through the telescopes we could see that as they climbed higher the wind was stronger and snow filled the air. They climbed on up for hours and except for occasional moments we were able to follow them clearly in the telescopes.

Snow Hides Climbers

"The wind was increasing steadily, however, and the moments when they were hidden by snow grew more frequent and longer. They reached a point we know to be about 900 feet from the top. Then a flurry of wind and snow hid them from sight for some time and when we again saw them 75 feet approximately had been gained. We watched them struggle on another 25 feet and again a blast of snow made it impossible for us to know where they were. The air was filled with snow for a long time. For how many minutes I couldn't say. When we again saw the mountain, however, there was not the slightest trace of either climber. Perhaps they were buried where we last saw them. Perhaps they went on up and reached the very top only to be overwhelmed there.

"No one will ever know the end they met," Capt. Noel concluded swiftly. "Another expedition is being planned for next year and it may be that the top will be safely reached,--and that the climbers will survive their triumph."

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