Search For a Frozen Camera Could Rewrite History Books On Everest's First Climbers

In 1924, George Mallory and Andrew Irvine set off to become the first men to climb Mount Everest. Among the gear they packed was a Vest Pocket Kodak camera. They disappeared. Today, a search for their camera could rewrite history.

It was nearly thirty years later, in 1954, that Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay successfully scaled Everest and won history's distinction as the first mountaineers to do so. But Mallory and Irvine's fate remained a mystery, and the possibility that they reached the summit endured. Mallory's body was found in 1999 but didn't provide any conclusive answers on the fate of his expedition.

Now, Everest historian Tom Holzel believes he has pinpointed the location of Andrew Irvine's body, showing up as an "oblong blob" on high-resolution photographs of the mountain. Recovering Irvine's body might mean recovering his Kodak camera, as well as the film that could fill in the blanks on their historic climb.

Holzel plans to launch an expedition to investigate the blob and, he hopes, recover the camera next month. In the event they do find the 90 year old Vest Pocket Kodak, Holzel has prepared an extensive guide on how to handle the very delicate, very important gadget. [Scientific American via Boing Boing]