Mountaineering and climbing legend Doug Scott has died at the age of 79 after a battle with cancer. He passed away peacefully in his sleep early this morning (Monday 7th December).
Scott made 45 expeditions to the greater ranges and summitted 40 peaks. He pioneered new routes and will be remembered for pushing an alpine-style of ascent. His climbing career spanned six decades and included the first British ascent of the South-West face of Everest alongside Dougal Haston, where they spent a night bivvying 100m below the summit.
He reached the highest peaks on all seven continents and pioneered big walls from Baffin Island to the Karakoram. In 1977, Scott and Chris Bonington made an ascent of Baintha Brakk (7285m), better known as The Ogre, in the Pakistan Karakorum. On the descent, Scott broke both his legs and one of the great mountaineering tales of survival ensued where it took the pair 8 days to get to safety. Scott wrote about the epic in his book The Ogre, widely considered to be one of the greatest adventure stories.
As an active member of the mountaineering community, Scott was Vice President of the BMC from 1994-1997 and President of the Alpine Club from 1999-2001. He received numerous awards in recognition of his mountaineering achievements, including a CBE and the Patron's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society.
In March of this year, Scott was diagnosed with cerebral lymphoma – a type of inoperable brain cancer. After his diagnosis, he was confined to the ground floor of his home but shortly into lockdown made his last climb up the stairs to raise money for Community Action Nepal, the aid organisation that Scott set up with numerous ongoing charitable projects in mountain communities.
One of my early climbing heroes. Sad news.
A legendary climber where the word 'legendary' is most appropriate. I saw some of his lectures as a kid and a young man and read all about his expeditions. Inspired me to go and have a look at the Himalayas, even if it was just to walk and look up in awe. His Big Wall book was my main source of information about how to actually use basic climbing gear.
The Just Giving page is still up for the Community Action Nepal Everest Challenge 2020
Yeah, a real moment for reflection. I never met him, but I followed his career since I first started - his account of the first Brit ascent of Salathe Wall - On The Profundity Trail - was inspirational, a masterpiece of self deprecation, understatement and imagination. In fact, I was misled by it, and maybe had less respect for his solid and powerful climbing ability than I should have ... attempts at the Big Overhang and contemplating his early Alpine achievements gradually set me straight.
Seems to me he was a bloke who organised his life very well, and made the most of every opportunity that then came his way. All the more credit for that; and the sheer unremitting understated boldness that he showed on so many ascents, whether an early ascent of the Bonatti Pillar, first ascent of the horrific Big Overhang, and of course all his later climbs in the Greater ranges. A real hero of the climbing community.
We had our differences, but without question you were an outstanding mountaineer Doug. My positive thoughts go to your family at this difficult time. RIP