The Happiness Quotient

#77 - Jake Norton - Higher Than Everest: Solving The Mystery of Mallory & Irvine

April 19, 2021 Thom Pollard Season 3 Episode 77
The Happiness Quotient
#77 - Jake Norton - Higher Than Everest: Solving The Mystery of Mallory & Irvine
Show Notes Transcript

The man with more boots-on-the-ground experience searching in the Death Zone for clues to the Mystery of Mallory & Irvine, Jake Norton, is our guest today. 

Jake was 25 when we first met on Mount Everest in 1999. He first climbed Mount Rainier with his dad at age 12. By age 18 he was guiding for Rainier Mountaineering and soon was leading international climbs around the world. 

Although we were living in two different worlds in 1999, I with a son and a house, he as a guide with a camera. We were natural friends, seeing eye to eye on topics of the day, spirituality, politics, having been brought together by a reverence for all things Everest. 

To date, Jake has been on Eight Everest expeditions, summiting three times….with the rare distinction of having made the top from the north and south.

This interview is a rare look into the greatest mystery in all of adventure, Did Mallory & Irvine make it to the summit of Everest in 1924?   Jake himself has been on five search expeditions (four of them officially) for Mallory and Irvine, and personally has experience than any human being alive or otherwise in the search for clues to the mystery of their disappearance. 

In 1999 Jake found the first clue during our historic expedition, in which I was the high altitude cameraman: an oxygen bottle from the 1975 Chinese expedition, during which Wang Hung-bao found Mallory's remains. ON THAT SAME DAY, After an hour and 45 minutes, Conrad Anker hopped on the radio, calling a mandatory team meeting. In a 2012 interview with Outside Online, Jake said about the discovery, Conrad  “was about 50 meters away from me, frantically waving his ice ax above his head. I walked over and happened by proximity to get there first, and there was Conrad, standing silently above the remains of a fallen hero: exactly as he appears in my photo from the cover of Outside. It was the most humbling experience of my climbing career, and one that will stay with me forever.” 

For more on Jake Norton, visit his website at:
https://jakenorton.com/


=========
For more information about Thom Dharma Pollard:
http://eyesopenproductions.com/

For a free downloadable copy of A Course In Happiness:
www.patreon.com/thehappinessquotient

Our theme song, Happiness Jones, appears courtesy of The Wood Brothers.

For more information about The Wood Brothers:
https://www.thewoodbros.com/

The Wood Brothers on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTvWKQovDZlLceuct1EEMMQ

Happiness Jones video can be seen here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKIoiVWwF5A

For more about Thom Dharma Pollard, about personal coaching or his inspirational presentations, virtual or in person, find him at: 
www.eyesopenproductions.com

To join his mailing list for The Happiness Quotient, email him at [email protected]




Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/thehappinessquotient)
Thom Pollard:

This is the happiness quotient. Welcome. Before we get started, consider checking out a course in happiness. In this short colorful guide. This easy to follow roadmap provides gentle positive suggestions that for eons have been taught by the Masters on how to stop chasing happiness in our path toward unlocking the mysteries to life's big questions. It offers some guideposts to contemplate and put to use in your daily life. Go to patreon.com slash the happiness quotient, where you'll find a free pdf download of a course in happiness.

The Wood Brothers:

All of my wisdom came from all of my toughest days, I never learned a thing bein' happy. all of my sufferin came i didnt appreciate it I never learned a thing bein happy but to know how it feels now and then I got a happiness jones my friend Happiness Jones

Thom Pollard:

I'm Thom Pollard. When I first met today's guest, we were both embarking on our first ever Mount Everest adventure. The year was 1999. I was 37 years old hired as a high altitude camera man for PBS Nova and the BBC on a co production documentary to try and change the history of Everest, once and for all. We were of course looking for the remains of George Mallory and Sandy erven, who had disappeared 75 years previously last seen climbing for the top at over 28,000 feet, or 8500 meters

The Wood Brothers:

I got a Happiness Jones

Thom Pollard:

If we could find that they had in fact made it to the summit. It would change the history books forever supplanting the first recognized dissent by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay 29 years later, in 1953. Jake Norton, my guest today was 25. like myself a Massachusetts native, he first climbed Mount Rainier with his dad at age 12. And by 18, he was guiding for Rainier mountaineering and soon was leading international climbs around the world. Although we were living in two different worlds I with a son and a house he as a guide with a camera. We were natural friends, seeing eye to eye on topics of the day spirituality politics, having been brought together by a reverence for all things Everest. Today, Jake has been on a Everest expeditions summit in three times with the rare distinction of having made the top from the north and the south. Last I saw him was 2019. We were both on separate expeditions on Mount Everest in Tibet, with the same quest to find the body of Sandy urban George Mallory's partner. It was an odd situation to be in one of my best friends from the mountains on a different team. And because of our affiliations with two competing networks, me with National Geographic and Jake with discovery, we had to keep the specifics of our efforts secret from each other. Although between you and me, everyone knew what the gig was with the other team. This interview is a rare look into the greatest mystery in all of adventure. Did Mallory and Ervin make it to the summit of Mount Everest in 1924. Jake himself has been on five search expeditions for Mallory norvan. Four of them were official search expeditions. And personally Jake has more boots on the ground experience than any human being alive or otherwise in the search for clues to the mystery of their disappearance. In 1999, Jake found the first clue during our historic expedition, an oxygen bottle from the 1975 Chinese expedition, during which Wang hongbao found Mallory's remains. On that same day. After about an hour and 45 minutes of searching. Conrad Anker hopped on the radio calling a mandatory team meeting. In 2012 interview with outside online, Jake said about the discovery Conrad quote was about 15 metres away from me frantically waving his ice axe above his head. I walked over and happened by proximity to get there first, and there was Conrad standing silently above the remains of a fallen hero, exactly as he appears in my photo from the cover of outside. It was the most humbling experience of my climbing career, and one that will stay with me forever on Quora. Here it is my April 12 2021 interview with climber, filmmaker, photographer, public speaker, United Nations ambassador, husband and father of two owner of mountain World Productions. My friend Jake Norton, from his office in evergreen, Colorado. We started our conversation with me first bringing up the topic of the shape of mountains today and how things have changed since we first met in 1999. How are our mountains now? What's what are the environment is changing? No. In a 10 or 11 years ago, I did a film with Conrad on for PBS on the melting glaciers of the world and it says like the get the Gangotri glacier, which feeds the Ganges River, of which you did a documentary that that glacier will melt in 50 years completely. And that was 10 years ago. And that feeds, in essence of billion people who are threatened of having that map that river become a seasonal River. That's shocking.

Jake Norton:

Yeah, yes. so terrifying. So you know, I mean, we look around the world, but any of these, especially the grade ranges, I mean, all ranges but you know, you think of the Himalaya, there's so massive and impenetrable and, you know, seem eternal, and then you go into them and young, we see these glaciers. I mean, you and I, since we've been traveling to those areas, 20 plus years. I mean, you can see the change with the naked eye, the wave, the Khumbu glacier, you know, has receded and pulled back and things are changing. Yeah. And I mean, the state of our glaciers of our mountains of these changing climates is really, really frightening. And I always talk about how you know, I think to a lot of the world mountains seem like this distant place that doesn't affect me. I'm, you know, I live in Illinois, what do I What do I care about the mountains, I live in Arkansas, I live in Bandu, gangetic. plains, the mountains are, but but you know, here's the old adage, shit flows downhill. And water does too. And everything, you know, the mountains are the bellwether of, of our climate, and we're seeing that change. And it's, yeah, it's terrifying.

Thom Pollard:

So tell me a little bit about your blog and your website, you have a newsletter that you send out. I'm on as a guy who produces a podcast and is challenged to take the time out of what hours there are in a week, and my kids are out of the house, by the way. So I've got that excuse. Just to get one episode a week is a gargantuan effort sometime. And you're cranking out some blog posts, like on multiple times a week? I think I've been doing it a little bit.

Jake Norton:

Yeah, I'm trying to and that was Yeah, certainly the intent You know, I've always loved writing and sharing and and, you know, I think like you as much as the mountains come to define us, us as individuals, they don't really they're, they're a part of a much greater definition and one chapter of our, of our books and so yeah, I was like, gosh, I I want to write about mountains, but I also want to write about other experiences and different things. So I, I decided, Okay, I'm going to take the plunge and start this blog that I just called the undefined blog where I, you know, kind of have free rein to dive into the things that at least I find interesting and are pulling on my cerebellum a little bit and, and it's been a lot of fun, but to your point about, you know, finding the time the last few weeks, I've I've, you know, a I've been immersed in this panorama project, which I'm hoping to finish this week, but but also just, you know, life life is gotten in the way and so I've fallen off off the wagon on her on the wet, whatever, I'm

Thom Pollard:

the wagon unhitched

Jake Norton:

right. Yeah, the wagon left me behind. So I'm trying to try to get reengaged to keep producing some more content and get my head back in the game.

Thom Pollard:

So the inevitable we can't have any conversation ever without Well, we already talked about Mount Everest one. So I guess no convert, no meeting between us would not lead to at least two conversations about Mount Everest, I would venture to say that you very possibly have more boots on the ground experience searching for Mallory in our oven or remains of their existence up there. And those expeditions of the 1920s and anybody alive, I'd say maybe Jamie McGinnis has at least some first hand knowledge because he's been through there so many times. I'm not even going to ask you if you think that's true, in my opinion, there can be nobody who knows more about what is up there in that death zone up in the yellow band area of Mallory nerve, and this has really been a thread in your career and your life.

Jake Norton:

Yeah, I mean, it. Yeah, it has, you know, it all started with us together up there. 22 years ago now, which is insane. Yeah. But yeah, you know, it. You know, it was interesting discovery wanted to play it off as this obsession, which perhaps that's the right word. I don't, I never felt like a but maybe.

Thom Pollard:

Look. Second, all right. No, you haven't? Yes. Yeah, it's luckily

Jake Norton:

I didn't I haven't hit the third word yet the death part?

Thom Pollard:

Yeah, we hope that that one comes naturally at the age of 105. Yeah,

Jake Norton:

yeah, exactly. But yeah, I mean, I guess, through some lenses, it certainly could be an obsession. I mean, to me, I, I think like, you know, I came, I always knew the story of nallore in erven, going into 99, and was certainly enthralled by it. But that expedition being up there finding relics on the mountain. And you know, Mallory's remains aside, just finding evidence of them and being in their footsteps opened it up in such a new way. And I think also made me realize that there was so much depth to those early expeditions that I think is is lacking in a large way today. And there's so much we, as modern climbers can and should learn from those early teams, and not that they did everything perfectly by any means. They made a lot of screw ups and a lot of Miss judgments. But, but we can still learn so much, and so much of it is being lost and, you know, swept away in the winds of history. And so, yeah, for me, I just wanted to tell more have and continue to want to tell more of the story of malar in urban, but also all of the pre World War Two expeditions, because what I mean, cash, what they did was just beyond words. I mean, I always try, I'm always telling my kids like, you know, they've been to Nepal a couple times, and it's like, imagine, you know, malar, in erven, you know, and and Norton, and Somerville and etham. And all those guys, you know, they got on a boat in February and sailed India, trains across the men walked five weeks just to get to the mountain, they hope to climb. I mean, it's such a different world and through no man's land that no foreigners had really seen before. While

Thom Pollard:

So, yeah, that's Boy, that's a whole subject right there, that the idea of, of having an authentic exploration and expedition there's, there's fewer and fewer of those, these days. And that that is a whole new topic. And I I'm gonna do a quick side note to Wade Davis, his most recent book called Magdalena, it's about the river in Colombia, and it's blow your mind. And it's that it instead of having these little expeditions kind of just be points in to kind of, if you will charge our, our need for thrill and excitement. It's more about involving yourself in a culture and a meaning and, and a history of something. And I guess in some respects, your relationship with Everest is so much more than that. And I I so you were there in 99. You went back in Oh, one Weren't you back there and no four? Was that the North side? So there's yes or

Jake Norton:

Yeah, and there are three as well, on the north side. But that wasn't a search expedition, per se, although I did a bit of poking around, but I was filming on that one. And then and then back again to the north side and 2019 when we were there on dueling friendly expeditions.

Thom Pollard:

Yeah. You know, not a lot of people know about the dueling expeditions. And I guess you would because you'd see that discovery has a film and National Geographic has a film about our not united Attempts to go and discover the body of Sandy Ervin up there. And it's interesting because here we are to two networks that are in fierce odds with each other. And his two expeditions sharing the mountain occasionally Crossing Paths of a lot of very, very good friends. Like when we got together, it was like a party like long lost buddies. And in there was no doubt that, you know, we were, we were more concerned about our friendship than then one upping each other. And yeah, and that was so amazing. And now I know in 2019, you, you guys spent a lot of time on that one particular day, I can't remember what day it was when it was before summit day, the 22nd or 21st. And you're in searching, you covered a lot of ground up.

Jake Norton:

Yeah, yeah, I think that that, you know, as you know, and for the listeners, you know, we had so much has changed since you and I were there and 99 where we could kind of go and cowboy and do you know, the Chinese government we're not telling us what we could and couldn't do. I mean, we were there before anyone else and doing our thing and now we're on you're on a very short leash, they tell you when you can arrive at base camp and it can change at the drop of a hat and when you can go up the mountain and then there's a lot more people and so both our teams we got compressed into these really bad search scenarios and windows and and so yeah, we kind of we opted in hindsight I probably would have changed it I think you guys made a really good play on on the traffic and everything but we ended up getting those four search days three and a half out of out of Camp six and but playing around all the people that were up there kicking rocks down Try not to kick rocks on them and and and yeah, it was Yeah, I mean he's you know, it's wild and hairy terrain and and what we were really focused on definitely wanted to get out to where you guys ended up getting to but never could because of traffic above us. And then and I was really focused on this area called the wards that are two climbers left of the exit cracks as you get out because it seemed at the time that that's where two theoretical old sightings of a body won by a guy named zhuzhing and 1960 and then by Sherpa cheering Georgia in 1995, where their paths might have coincided and turned out to to not not be accurate or if there was something there it's it's long gone. But actually y'all Can y'all can hem labs team had been there when in 2010 or was

Thom Pollard:

Yeah, and then in 12 also, I think Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, I

Jake Norton:

think so. And they they had a bit more snow so we were hopeful that Oh gosh, maybe on the dry year that we had this path or in 2019 we'd we'd find something but we you know, we finally got out it was said Paterson and I and then Ken Saul's cameraman coming out as well and you know once we got through the wards finally and on to that northeast Ridge crest the thinking and Ben Gosh, maybe urban you know, after the accident Mallory falls we find him in 99 irvan survive this was my thinking at least, you know, maybe he wandered out along the ridge crest trying to find the route back down in the dark scared and that eventually got out to that area and tried to wait out the night and didn't make it and as soon as sin and I've poked out into there I looked at the train I was like there's no way you'd mistake this Ridgecrest for what you walked out 12 hours before because it's just gnarly up there. And so we knew pretty quickly that it wasn't worth searching further along that ridge crest towards the pinnacles.

Thom Pollard:

So you on that in 2019 you did find a mitten was it or was it a socks that you found some?

Jake Norton:

No that was on my found in in. In Gosh, what year was a 2001 found a mitten just kind of slightly to climbers right of the wards climbers left of the exit cracks and that we're pretty sure was probably a 24 mitten. So we had to embed Mallory Irvin's given where it was. There's, you know, some misinformation out there that that it was just lying there on the ground. It was actually under a rock. It wasn't, you know, didn't seem to have been something that blew there either. looked at least somebody at some point in the intervening years and put a rock on it. So that was an interesting clue. Then in 2019, Sid and I, we went out to Long Island, perverse from the 1933 high camp, quite a ways down and hoping to find something there. And I thought I found something but it ended up being a Tatar from the 1933 camp and a little bit of tent fabric up there.

Thom Pollard:

Amazing. So, if, if you were having been up there so many times and really knowing the lay of the land there, there are some people who believe that that Mallory's chosen route was not up and over the second step, but kind of skirting around underneath it up to the main cool war that heads up to the summit pyramid. Do you think that that would have been possible and do you believe that that do you would like what do you think but do you think it's possible to go underneath

Jake Norton:

it? Yeah, I mean, I I don't I'm so you know, the history is so hard to decipher. And I you know, obviously we know that Norton and Somerville four days before had had gone underneath, they took a lower traverse line. We know that you know, wagger and when Harris and shipped in, you know, when the high route in in 33. When Harrison Wagner actually went up to the first step and then traversed under trying to figure out a way to shortcut the second stab, and they made it about two Norton's high point and the cool war. And, you know, I've always thought and probably perhaps, erroneously that, that Mallory was more intent based on Norton's experience hitting soft kind of sketchy snow in the cool water that he was going to go the ridge route. But there is that new information, the note that Mallory sent the john know of a cameraman, that indicates maybe he was going for the cool war. But then somehow, they had to have gotten back to the first step. Because we found that oxygen bottle there in 99. And we found the mitten there, and no one. So there's signs of them having been up there. And so yeah, it's all just so hard to decipher and figure out, okay, where did they really go? And why. And, you know, sadly, there's, I don't know how you feel about it. But there's a part of me that wonders if you know, perhaps now we'll never know, you know, we may not know, there, there may not be any more telling evidence to find, I still hope that there will be that something will come out eventually. But who knows.

Thom Pollard:

Did you ever I've heard and I'm not sure if you want to talk about it. But did you ever go back to the site of where Mallory's body is or was and look for him?

Jake Norton:

No, you know, I never did and yeah, you know, there's there's been part of me that's always wanted to and all the trips I've been on subsequently, just there hasn't been men time to go down there, I guess cars to or whatever. So yeah, I haven't. But I know you. I mean, you were back. What was what two weeks give or take it? round? May 17. Right. 99? And did you guys go back and 19?

Thom Pollard:

down? No, well, that was part of the plan that Mark and I had that he was going to unclip and go to the Tom wholesales slash, if you will, right. Look for Sandy. And then he was going to zigzag down or if I don't even know if you can do that there. And I was going to go down the ropes real quick and unclip and go straight over to where Mallory was. And obviously I had that which I don't whether it was a Tia or not, I don't know. Obviously, I turned around and didn't go so I never had that opportunity. But um, you know, we had extensive drone, photographs and video but but primarily the photographs which you could blow up giant, just the incredible detail of these photographs. And I looked for I mean days, we literally spent days going over these photographs. And you know, we found one body who was the Japanese climber who's not that far off the ropes. Yeah, you walk by Well, I know you didn't do the summit on in 2019. But yeah. And so I never had the chance to go but I had heard that somebody went and looked for him before and was unsuccessful.

Jake Norton:

Okay, look for Mallory. Okay.

Thom Pollard:

Yeah, and I don't know if it was because of a lot of snow. Now here's. So let's just say you know when I went back with Andy on May 16 in 1999 If we you know there was there was still parts of his clothing that was still really firmly frozen into the ground that we loosened up so I could get under to look in his pockets for the camera and everything yeah and then we did what we could to cover him with rocks afterwards as best we could but there was still parts of his foot was exposed and regrettably and I always wonder if maybe if he wasn't so firmly locked down if it would have been possible for an avalanche them to possibly sweep him yeah yeah

Jake Norton:

yeah I've I've wondered that as well like if Yeah, cuz we we did we we loosened it we've changed things and I don't know that he would have without any body heat residual body he been able to become re adhere to the mountain, as you know, and yeah, Woody have been swept away in, you know, after after some disruption. regretable disruption from from 99. So, yeah, and

Thom Pollard:

then there's also the, you know, the many reports that, you know, before the Olympics were in China, how, supposedly the Chinese, you know, they did a sweep of the mountain and tried to remove as many bodies as they could from there. Maybe they went and removed something, you know, and here we are two years in a row again, the mountain is not open this year in China. So yeah, very interesting. I don't know it's Will any bit, let's put it this way. Do you think given all your experience up there, the over years and different days of those expeditions, it is there anything left? To find in that? Let's just call it the yellow band area? Or should people start looking elsewhere? Like, did we is that ground covered? Yeah, I

Jake Norton:

mean, you know, had you asked me two years ago, I would have said certainly there's there's more to be found. But now we have now I kind of wonder if there is in the yellow band. I mean, I I still think you know, wholesales area where you guys searched I think there's a high probability urban could have been in there probably isn't anymore. So maybe there's something left behind to give some evidence but I also wonder because I walked through most of that area in oh four we had a lot of snow but didn't didn't see anything. I could have easily missed something when you guys were there. But yeah, a big part of me feels like a real comprehensive search in two places above the second step looking for not any definitive clue but evidence of them having been there would be pretty massive. If they got that high. I think most of us would feel like yeah, they probably got to the top if they were above the second step, and then and then the Add doing which would be crazy cool to see and film and be on but doing that you know that hi traverse under the second step either either from the base of the first step over or taking Norden and some rebels more diagonal route up and getting into the grade cool war and seeing a Is there a route that Mallory and Ervin could have taken up there that would have gotten them through and be is, you know, is there. Is there a bottle left behind there? Is there any sign of them having been there? Although it's hard to imagine anything would have stuck around there for that long? Because that's some steep terrain.

Thom Pollard:

You Yeah, it is. It's, it's spooky just to look at and unfortunately, I never other than with Andy in 2016 or 20 G's nice brain. I kinda wanted to brain.

Jake Norton:

Yeah, there'sa lot going on in my head.

Thom Pollard:

meant to say may 16. In 1999 Andy and I kind of left camp six or the modern day camp three, and kind of went up a little bit, and then zigged down to see if there was anything, you know, let laterally over. And right. I love Mallory's body and, and it's so funny because I can remember being there and thinking, wow, if I fell I would definitely die right now. But it didn't faze me, but sometimes I'll think of it now. I'm just like, get chills like, geez, yeah. You, you're on 10 of your 12 points of crampons on rock scraping and he and yes, the point of your ice axe down it's it's a Crazy place to be. It's mad. Yeah.

Jake Norton:

Yeah, it is. And I, you know, I remember, because I guess we're with the exception of Ken Saul's on our team in 2019. He and I were the only ones who had been there and I was the only one who had really searched up high before and, you know, suggest telling everyone like, hey, that, you know, this is an El Cap. This isn't, you know, technical climbing, per se. But when you get off route, you know, you're suddenly on terrain that you realize the magnitude of it, you know, one and you realize that you really wish you had hobnail boots because crampons or do not work that well on on a tile roof you have for all the listeners, you know, Mather in urban, and the pre World War Two teams, they had man hobnail boots, so they didn't work and a lot of terrain, but up on the upper north face, it was actually the right footwear. And as Tom said, we're we're walking along with crampons on, and you're like a cat with its claws extended trying to climb a tiled roof you're like, yeah. And everything there is a steep enough that if if you slip and get going there's you're not going to you just can't stop, or very unlikely you're going to stop before some major damage is done.

Thom Pollard:

Yeah, so just look at the shape of Mallory's body. And yeah, yeah, not. That was gruesome.

Jake Norton:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, it really was.

Thom Pollard:

So um, the inevitable do you think, you know, what is your gut tell you about? Did they make it? Could they have? What do you want to believe? And what do you really believe? You know?

Jake Norton:

Yeah, I mean, I'm, I'm admittedly a helpless romantic idealist. And, and so I, on all answer the second question first, I do believe that, I want to believe that they submitted. And I always go back to, you know, we have no proof that they did. And likewise, we have no proof that they did not, you know, it's and in the evidence and in the, whether or not they could have I, I don't see anything that tells me honestly, that they couldn't have I mean, I, you know, if, if they did try the ridge route, if they climbed attempted the second stab, you know, we as modern climbers gets and this isn't derogatory towards anyone because I was in this mindset. For a long time as well, thinking that well, they had to have climbed to climb. The second step, the way we'd climb it today, they had to try and free climate but but that's not necessarily how they looked at fingers back then. And you look at the, how the Chinese got up in 1960. And they, you know, stood on heads and shoulders took off boots and gloves and the lead climber is able to essentially reach kind of enough holds at the top of the second step to mantle and struggle his way up and get up the thing. And I've got on my blog, a great photo of Albert Ellingwood and Karl Blau rock to Colorado climbers doing the same thing called a quarter shell kind of 10 fingers. Blau rock is standing on Ellen woods. He's got one foot on his head and pushing his head to the side and another foot on his shoulder and climbing up a chunk of rock about the same sizes. The second step headwall and, you know, that wasn't considered unfair means necessarily back in the 20s. So I look at it as you know, yeah, they would have been desperate it would have been crazy. Everything they probably did on that day was breaking the rules but but I still don't see any reason to say they couldn't have done it. I don't I don't see it being out of their reach. By any means, or would have been desperate would have and we know how it ended but but so yeah, long, long winded answer I I still do feel that that they could have and I think they they probably did and that certainly influenced by my helpless romantic aspects.

Thom Pollard:

That's that's that's why I love you, buddy. So much that that helpless, hopeless romance of, of what is capable what a human being is capable of accomplishing when he or she has put his or her heart and soul into an endeavor. You know what I mean? As God just gets into the picture here, all right. It is amazing what people can accomplish and for anyone to say there's no way in hell they made it. And I've said I did say that for years. Mark Senate, even correct me but he said We can't say we can't prove they did. But we also can't prove they didn't. Yeah. I always used to base it on how far if you will, east of the second step Mallory was but until version is found, or his locations about we don't know how he might have gotten over there.

Jake Norton:

Right? Yeah. And I always think to like you look at I mean, of course, we don't know definitively, but you look at kind of Mallory's mindset, going into 24, you know, you'd been there in 21, and 22, he's 37, almost 38, which was upper upper level for Himalayan climbing those days, he's got three kids, there's a lot of societal and family pressure for him to be able to provide for them and be the upstanding, you know, British citizen that he should be and, and he knows that, you know, he can either two things can happen out of Everest that he or he can summit the mountain and be the first to do it. And everything is golden from there on out, or he can come back home and nothing down about this, but, you know, continue to life he was doing being a lecturer and teacher and, and never quite living up to what I think he felt he needed to and wanted to and deserve them. So long story short, I think sadly, tragically, he was willing to push a hell of a lot further and 24, then maybe he would have been in 22 or 21. And knowing that it was now or never to get and I've talked to another friend who's done a wonderful screenplay on the story, Jim mceachin, about this idea that that Mallory's only real way home was via the summit of Everest that he didn't, you know, psychologically, mentally didn't really have another path home, you know, then he even said that, and I forget who he wrote it to, but we're gonna stamp to the top this time and with God with sir sorry, we're gonna sail to the top this time and with God with us, or will stamp to the top with our teeth in the wind? You know, he was he was determined, and sadly, tragically determined, I think,

Thom Pollard:

yeah, what, what people will do when ambition and desire and you know, it, it's scary. We've swell you've been to Everest, on many occasions, you submitted three times, you've seen a lot of a lot of people who didn't make it a lot of dead people on that mountain. And it's chilling. It also always the sight of another body up there always kind of was a reminder, I felt so much reverence for those people reminding me like, it's not worth it. Yeah, it's not worth it.

Jake Norton:

Yeah. The I mean, you know, it's Yeah, like you said, it's this chilling thing to see. And yet, I almost find it a welcoming, tragically welcoming thing to, you know, to be reminded of your own mortality up there, like, Hey, you know, whoever that is, was, you know, God, at least this high was probably as good a climber as you are, and might not have really made any major mistake and they're lying here now. And you could be next and the mountain pardon my French really doesn't give a shit if you if you're another human caring out there. So, so watch your staff and, and don't be stupid and don't don't get too obsessed by the summit. Because, I mean, I guess it's easy to say when you and I have been there before. But you know, at the end of the day, the summit is a necessary part of the adventure, but it's really a patch of snow covered in pee and some candy wrappers. It's, it's not

Thom Pollard:

a lot of

Jake Norton:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. A lot of beautiful prayer flags, but, but it's like, all right, I don't know that that's worth dying for losing a finger for whatever.

Thom Pollard:

So what is it a clean slate? Looking forward? You have any other than the Roland zori Mountain expedition that we're going to do with a film someday? Sounds good. It does. It sounds great to me. What any thing on the horizon? Are you just kind of putting the vibes out there letting something up here?

Jake Norton:

Yeah, yeah, just really trying to you know, let things materialize and putting it out there, you know, definitely doing a lot of writing and trying to create new things. And, but for me, I think, you know, I never want to say I'll never go back to Everest because every time I say that, I end up back there and I do love it and I'd go back I think for more fun storytelling there's certainly things I'd love to love to still do there but but I'm feeling more and more I think these days and perhaps always have been more like, I guess not of his caliber but of mentality Eric shipped him you know, who people criticize saying, you know, here is a guy who is a climber but who is more interested in exploring than climbing. I was just rereading about the 35 trip when they came in light, fast, small team and he diverted them in a dream A and Neo no Ri massifs for two weeks on the way into Everest, because nobody had been married, he wanted to explore and they might well have missed their possible window to summit the mountain by doing so but but you know, to me that type of stuff getting into some of these ranges that people don't bother to go into, because there's not not a Blom or an Everest or an 80,000 are sitting around that really enthralls me to just bomb around and check out cool areas. So those those are some of the projects I've got on my to do list to figure out alright, how do we get into that place where nobody's been into before?

Thom Pollard:

Absolutely no. Senate said something funny. In our when we I interviewed him a week or so ago, he said something like, he goes all this, all these projects, all this stuff is just an excuse to do cool shit that, you know, you know, so he writes this book, The third poll, and I better go to the Royal Geographical Society and look at Mallory's book, instead of taking Norton or Pollard's word for it, you know, and yeah, you know, the watch was, you know, was in like this glass case. Apparently, the watch that I had in my pocket for a while is radioactive. Really? Yes. It still glows in the dark.

Jake Norton:

So that explains a lot color. Gosh,

Thom Pollard:

well, if I did have another kid, it would it's wonder now we know why there's two heads on that.

Jake Norton:

Blame it on 99.

Thom Pollard:

So did any other anything else like any other cool shit, you want to like? You know, I mean, I this it's always great talking to you. We could probably hit tangents of we're at a pub drinking beers that would go till they close the bar, I would imagine. But yeah, we'll call, you know, on tap locally, or?

Jake Norton:

Yeah, I don't you know, for, for me, I think again, it's just that urge to explore, like, I drive my family nuts, because I hate trails and out here, I'm always, you know, hunting out drainages, I'm like, I want to see where this spring that I found last week, where does it go? And so I'm always bushwhacking everywhere and, but you know, to me that it's just that that sense of adventure that I get, I get, you know, sadly bored on a trail and I'm like, Alright, I want I want to see what's over that ridge there. What I saw, I saw a bit of rock sticking out and you know, what, is that a big dome there that nobody's climbed before? Let's go check that out. And so that that really feeds my soul all the time. And I think you know, in the in this crazy COVID era where probably you're probably in the same boat, I haven't been to an airport to fly somewhere. And then this is such a woe is me. first world problem. But but Mike, I haven't flown anywhere. I've barely left my county and over a year now and, and yet, there's been this beautiful piece that's come out of it to just say, Hey, you know, I've been I've got this world that I ignore half the time because I'm looking forward to the next Himalayan trip or wherever it is, and, and now I get to really dive in deep and explore. And I did speaking of cameras about six months ago or so as in one of my drain edges. It was a warm winter day and saw this little glint of light on a hillside. I just found an old logging settlement from probably the early teens or so, about up on this hillside was the glint of light. So catching something catching the sun so went up and pulled out this beautiful old camera that I think dated back to about 1918. If I didn't identify it was all beat to hell and but found a guy in Memphis, Tennessee who could develop the film and sent it off to him and unfortunately a tree grown root and it destroyed the whole thing. And he was bombed as bummed as I was because I was like, what are we gonna find? You know, this

Thom Pollard:

could be a controlled rally on the summit of Everest.

Jake Norton:

I know that was crossing my mind. I was like,

The Wood Brothers:

he made it.

Jake Norton:

Oh God, how Am I good to Colorado? I know how did that happen? Yeah, good stuff like that, you know, I just love that it's you know, and you know a it's some adventure and then be this humbling reminder that hey, you were the first one to go down here, you know there was some dude tweed coat 100 years before you romping around on the same terrain. And you're, you know, I think we can all use knocking ourselves off our pedestals at times to remember that, hey, there were a lot of people here before a student who were smarter, more skilled, tougher, and that's I always loved it.

Thom Pollard:

In addition to his numerous mountaineering accomplishments, Jake is an ambassador for the United Nations serving on the mountain partnership, an organization that helps to ensure that mountain regions and the people and the cultures around them are represented in specific languages, as agreements and policies are developed around Sustainable Development Goals. If you want to receive Jake's awesome undefined blog, go to Jake norton.com click on the blog button at the bottom. And if you want to help Jake with his inspiring work, you can support him with a monthly or annual donation and receive a goodie bag but you can always receive it for free just visit you will be inspired.

The Wood Brothers:

All of my wisdom came from all the toughest days, I never learned in happy

Thom Pollard:

Thank you to the woods brothers and their management for the use of their song happiness Jones for our theme song here on the HQ and to their publicist Kevin Calabro for helping it all happen.

The Wood Brothers:

How it feels now and then. I got a Happiness Jones my friend. Happiness Jones.

Thom Pollard:

If you'd like a free downloadable PDF of the happiness quotients a course in happiness visit [email protected] slash the happiness quotient. And for more information about me to inquire about personal coaching or public speaking in person or virtually, please visit eyes open productions.com or write me anytime at Tom Dharma dot [email protected]

The Wood Brothers:

To get happy. That ol' dragon

Thom Pollard:

that which we most want to find can be discovered in the place where we least want to look and the deeper and the darker the well the brighter the light we will discover. Don't curse the dark cloud. The rain inside may very well turn your garden green. I will see you all real soon.

The Wood Brothers:

Happy, happy happy happiness Jones Happy, happy, happiness Jones, Happy Happy Happy Happiness Jones Im not sick Im not alone we all got itHappiness Jones all of those words I wrote in the storm that rocked my boat all of that was stuck in my throat when I was happy all of those songs I was singin while my boat was sinkin next thing im thinkin' im happy i might as well change my name to Happiness jones my friend.Happiness Jones Happy Happiness Jones. Happy Happy. Happy Jones Happiness Jones Happy, happy, happy. Happy. Happy Happy Happy