dated August 27, 1953: Valuable Plates Lost on Everest

While the British Expedition under John Hunt was receiving accolades from around the world for its success in conquering Mount Everest through climbers Hillary and Tenzing, a London report of August 25th referred to a costly omission by the team. The error related to the study of the effects of cosmic rays received on earth at great altitude without great modification by the much denser atmosphere that prevailed at lower levels. They forgot to bring back a package of special photographic plates which had been taken up towards the summit of Everest and left on its slope near the top to record the effects of the rays. The plates had been sent by a research group on behalf of a European university. Since the package got left behind, the plates could perhaps be recovered, if at all in good condition, only when the next Everest expedition went up to that high altitude location. Sir John Hunt said, "I had a shock when I remembered we had forgotten to repack the plates for the return journey. In all the excitement of getting down after the successful climb, the plates slipped our attention. So far I know, they are still up there."

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