Essay: The Norton's of Everest Jake Norton - Basecamp Thu, May 03, 2001 10:45PM
The yellow bit of cotton poked out of the icy rubble, a tattered relic of the past exposed on the North Ridge. As with all the other bits and pieces I came across, this was carefully extracted from the terrain and placed inside a Ziplock bag with Silica gel for transport back to Basecamp.
Several days later, I was rousted from my tent slumber by Jochen's tongue-in-cheek reprimand: "Jake, you must stop leaving your socks lying about on the North Ridge!" Huh? I glanced sleepily at my feet, assuring that they were still tightly wrapped in socks. Jochen smiled at my confusion. "I just thawed out and unfolded the sock you found at the '24 camp, and there is a laundry label on it... It reads 'E.F. Norton'!"
Perhaps it is time to comment on the name "Norton." I have been asked countless times in the past two years if there is any relation between Colonel E.F. Norton from 1924 and me, Jake Norton. Certainly, first thoughts would lead one to believe that there is a relation. 1924 Norton was named Edward. My father's name is Edward Norton. (And, no, he is not a bus driver or best friends with Ralph Kramden! And for all you Eddie Murphy fans....) My family's ancestry leads back to the British Isles.
But, alas, the similarities end there, and some clarification is in need. My family, on the other hand, came over to the USA in the mid-1800's on a ship with the name of "McNaughton," which, apparently, was far too difficult to spell in America in that day and age; our name was hence changed at Ellis Island to "Norton." So, you can see, there can be no relation: Colonel E. F. Norton from 1924 came from a long line of upstanding British subjects, whereas the McNaughton-cum-Norton's come from a long line of drunken Irish. As they say in Nepali, "ke garne?" (What to do?)