Looking down the headwall of the Second Step from the top of the Step, on May 30, 2003. Photo by Ted Mahon.

  1. Wolfgang Laufer
    Wolfgang LauferApril 4,18

    I dont get it with the Picture “Looking down the headwall of the Second Step from the top of the Step”. What is shown? Is the photo mirrored? The Portion to the right in the picture, it looks really steep. Is this the north face or kangshung face? Is corkscrew chimney in the left part of the picture near to the climber in red clothes?

    Thanks, Wolfgang

    • Jake Norton
      Jake NortonDecember 2,18

      Hi Wolfgang,

      This shot is from the very top of the Second Step looking down. The Corkscrew Chimney is, as you note, in the upper left of the frame, and on the right side is the steep headwall to climber’s left on the ascent. Hope this makes sense.

  2. Larry Dunnagan
    Larry DunnaganJuly 7,19

    Jake, thank you for all the time and energy and resources you’ve put into this. It’s fascinating.

    Endlessly so.

    My…questions…have to do with the assumption that Mallory (surely it was his “call…) was so mentally committed to staying on the ridge, that he would attempt the daunting headwall of the second step (courte achelle?) rather than use Norton and Sommervell’s traverse route into, or near, the couloir, and then ascend to the ridge somewhere past the third step, from which they would be in better position for a summit try. Looking at the various photos of the area at the base of the “pyramid”, and reading the extensive discussion of Odell’s sighting if they had succeeded at this, it looks like this would have put them in good line-of-sight for Odell’s seeing them past all the steps, and ready for the more straightforward climb that would take them to the summit.

    From what I’ve read, Norton was not reticent about saying that he felt he’d found a way up through the coulior that would have presented Mallory and Irvine with a fair chance of at least reaching the base of the pyramid. Looking at the second step, it’s hard to believe that Mallory would have ignored Norton’s advice.

    Of course, none of this guarantees that they succeeded. They could just have easily run out of energy and possibly, time, after climbing out of the couloir, as they could have after making it to the top of the second step….if they did…it just seems to me that Norton’s idea of the traverse across the north slope into the couloir would have been the more attractive option.

    I do think that more and more students of this mystery are becoming willing to agree on the traverse instead of the 2nd step as the route to the summit.

    I’d really enjoy hearing your thoughts on this.

    Larry in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

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