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Frank Smythe was obsessed with the highest mountain on earth . “Everest is becoming a life’s task”, he wrote in his diary. Smythe was a member of all three British expeditions to Mount Everest in the 1930s. Not only since his first ascent of 7756-meter-high Kamet in 1931 he was among the leading climbers of his time. On 1 June 1933 Frank equalled the altitude record on Everest with about 8570 meters, reaching probably the same point in the North Face as his compatriot Edward Felix Norton in 1924. “It (the summit) was only 1,000 feet above me, but an aeon of weariness separated me from it”, Smythe wrote. Climbing without bottled oxygen he began to hallucinate on his way back. Frank thought there was a companion and wanted to share his cake with him. He was also convinced to see two bulbous objects hovering above him. Smythe reported about these experiences in his book “Camp 6”. What Frank kept secret until his death in 1949 was a surprising discovery he patently made during his next expedition to Everest in 1936: Apparently if not likely Smythe spotted the body of George Mallory. The mystery of Mallory and Andrew Irvine, who started for a summit attempt in 1924 but did not return, has not been solved completely until today.
Date27. November 2013 | 13:15