Friday, May 7, 1999 Published at 13:03 GMT 14:03 UK
World: South Asia
Search for Everest pioneer's camera
More than 750 climbers have reached summit; 150 have died trying
An expedition which discovered the body of mountaineering pioneer George Mallory has turned its attention to his camera, which might prove whether he reached the summit.
New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and his Nepalese guide Sherpa Tenzing are universally accredited with reaching the summit first, in 1953.
His body was found at the weekend by a US-led expedition but there was no sign of his Kodak camera, which was usually kept in his knapsack.
Did he reach top of the world?
Leaders of the expedition believe the film inside the camera might contain a photograph of Mallory "on top of the world".
Mallory's grandson said on Tuesday he was grateful for the "sensitive" way the team had treated his grandfather's remains.
He said: "I don't know exactly where he has been found and, I guess, unless they find the camera it won't really tell us anything.
Mr Mallory said: "That generation of mountaineers in the 1920s had an incredible attitude. They were told by physiologists it was not possible to survive at that level and just decided to do it anyway."
An expedition to Nepal may be on the brink of discovering whether Mount Everest was conquered 30 years earlier than previously thought.
The progress of the eight climbers who found the body has been relayed back to their site on the Internet, mountainzone.com.
Eric Simonson, the leader of the Nova expedition, and fellow climber Dave Hahn, who was the first to come across Mallory's body, described their delight on the Seattle-based Website.
'Beyond our wildest dreams'
"I want to convey how much, for us, this discovery is a huge achievement and so far beyond our wildest dreams," he writes.
"It is hard to convey our excitement over this discovery."
The corpse was protruding through the snow, wearing tweed clothes and leather shoes, with a rope still around his waist. It had been preserved in excellent condition because of the dry air and freezing conditions.
'Lying in snow for 75 years'
"When we realised that it was George Mallory, we were really blown away," said Mr Hahn.
They buried the body, according to the family's wishes, on Everest.
Jochen Hemmleb, a 28-year-old German climber and Mallory historian, chose a location for the team to search based largely on a report from the climber, Wang Hongbao, of a body on the North Ridge route Mallory and Irvine would have taken.