NOVA Online
Everest
Site Map

Prayer flags blowing in wind Expedition Leader Dies At Everest Base Camp
April 23, 1997
By Liesl Clark

News always comes to us first through the Sherpas. "Someone died last night over at the camp next door—it was the leader, Mal Duff."

Mal Duff, a long-time Everest expedition leader from the United Kingdom, who has lead many expeditions on the mountain, died last night in his sleep at Base Camp. We're all in a state of shock over the news. Many of our team members knew Mal well and are coping with the news while camped high on the mountain. All here at Base Camp have sent their well wishes to Mal's staff at Base Camp and are doing what they can to help the team during this very difficult time.

"Mal was an integral part of Everest for all of us," commented another expedition leader. Mal's Sherpas have set and maintained the route through the Icefall for the last two years. His current expedition members are attempting to climb both Everest and Lhotse. At this time, we have no news as to whether the members will continue with their climbs.

Today there is a strange silence over Base Camp, with only the blowing prayer flags making a sound. It is a violent wind, the kind that blows straight up from the ground in front of you, knocking your glacier glasses against your forehead. We haven't seen such a tumultuously gusty day here yet, as if the spirit of Mal Duff were blowing fiercely around camp, making his last indelible mark on a place where he has spent many days of his life.

June 10, 1997: Back Home (27)
May 25, 1997: Climbers Return to Base Camp (26)
May 24, 1997: Descending Toward Base Camp (25)
May 23 PM, 1997: NOVA Climbers Safely Off the Summit (24)
May 23 AM, 1997: NOVA Climbers Reach the Summit! (23)
    Hear the archived live audio broadcast from the summit
    Read the transcript of the broadcast from the summit
May 22, 1997: Bid for the Summit (22)
May 21, 1997: Helicopter Crashes at Everest Base Camp (21)
May 20, 1997: Moving On Up (20)
May 19, 1997: Poised at Camp II (19)
May 18, 1997: Departing for Camp II (18)
May 17, 1997: Dead Sherpa Found on Khumbu Glacier (17)
May 16, 1997: Jet Stream Winds Blast Camp II (16)
May 13, 1997: Receiving News from the North Side (15)
    May 13, 1997: RealAudio Interview with David Breashears
May 11, 1997: Five Climbers Presumed Dead on the North Side (14)
May 10, 1997: The Waiting Game (13)
May 9, 1997: Pulmonary Edema Evacuation from Base Camp (12)
May 8, 1997: A Hasty Retreat to Base Camp (11)
May 7, 1997: Sherpa Falls To His Death On The Lhotse Face (10)
May 6, 1997: Spin: A Passenger to the Summit (9)
May 5, 1997: Delayed at Advance Base Camp (8)
May 4, 1997: NOVA Climbers Leave Base Camp for Their Summit Attempt (7)
May 1, 1997: NOVA Team Prepares for Summit Attempt (6)
April 26, 1997: Indonesian Expedition First to Summit in 1997 (5)
April 23, 1997: Expedition Leader Dies at Everest Base Camp (4)
April 22, 1997: Japanese Expedition Pulls Out (3)
April 16, 1997: Traffic Reports on Everest (2)
April 14, 1997: Rescue Season Begins (1)



Lost on Everest | High Exposure | Climb | History & Culture | Earth, Wind, & Ice
E-mail | Previous Expeditions | Resources | Site Map | Everest Home

Editor's Picks | Previous Sites | Join Us/E-mail | TV/Web Schedule
About NOVA | Teachers | Site Map | Shop | Jobs | Search | To print
PBS Online | NOVA Online | WGBH

© | Updated November 2000

Support provided by

For new content
visit the redesigned
NOVA site