Stewart, You might consult my series of comments posted on M. Tracy’s video page
On Norton’s diary entry:
If the entry accurately reports Odell’s message, Norton betrayed his own design to falsify the message later. But perhaps Norton mis-reported Odell’s message in his diary, to boost the status of M&I on the mountain, then later attempted to correct it. Perhaps both Norton and Odell were confused about the sighting, and were unable to sort out the details.
It does look like Norton wanted the sighting to have been on the 1st Step, which, being lower than his own climb, credited him with the altitude record for all expeditions. But then why didn’t he destroy the evidence of his telltale diary entry?
On the oxygen bottles: On June 8, 1924, five or six bottles left Camp VI toward the summit. Bottle #9 was dropped empty somewhere below the NE ridge and east of the 1st Step. I believe this was where M&I concluded to abandon the skyline route and traverse the north flank of the ridge in the general direction of the 3rd Step. The area above 28,000 ft. between the Norton Couloir and the crest of the NE Ridge beyond the 2nd Step would be a viable search area for another two empty oxygen bottles. This search area could be extended to the lower part of the pyramid. Two more empty bottles can be sought higher on the pyramid. A full bottle may have been cached somewhere between the 3rd Step and the lower pyramid. It may have been used on the descent and dropped at a lower elevation anywhere above the point of Mallory’s final fall, or it may have been abandoned in place, full and unnecessary for the descent. Norton certainly did give the impression that oxygen was unnecessary for descent below 28,000 ft.
The important point here is not the veracity of Norton’s and Odell’s statements, nor whether or not full oxygen bottles were cached; the important point is to FIND the missing 4-5 oxygen bottles, along with any other traces, along with the body of Andrew Irvine, whose heavy coat may carry a camera in one zippered coat pocket, stones from the summit in another zippered coat pocket, and a tell-all diary in an interior coat pocket!
S.I. Wells, Donner Pass, 18 July 2021