Forty years ago this autumn, British mountaineers Dougal Haston and Doug Scott stepped onto the summit of Everest, having, for the first time, climbed the world’s highest mountain by its massive South West Face. They were the first to ascend this huge wall of rock, snow and ice and their climb would go down in mountaineering history, as ‘Everest: The Hard Way’.
To celebrate the anniversary of their epic ascent Doug Scott will be telling the story in a special anniversary lecture tour starting this September. Seats for the anniversary event, at London’s Royal Geographical Society on the 24th September have already sold out, but there are still tickets – although these are going fast too - at venues throughout the country during the rest of the anniversary tour. To find out where Doug’s appearing go to www.canepal.org.uk
By 1975 this wall of rock and ice had already seen off five previous expeditions consisting of some of the strongest mountaineers of the time. In the autumn of 1975 Chris Bonington and his British team returned to the face and finally succeeded. In this brand new lecture Doug Scott will tell of the preparations, the approach and how the team worked together to pioneer a route through the Rock Band to establish for the first time a Camp 6 within striking distance of the summit.
Dougal and Doug had reached the summit just as the sun was setting and left at 7.00 pm. Their torches failed reversing the Hillary Step, wind had blown snow into their steps and they were out of oxygen. They decided it would be prudent to bivouac although it was only 300 feet below the main summit.
Doug commented, ‘the main thing was to get out of the wind so we dug a snow cave and sat on our rucksacks for the next nine hours in temperatures around minus 40 degrees centigrade. We managed to survive without sleeping bags, without oxygen, and, as it turned out, without getting frostbite. The net result for me was to really widen the range of where and how I would climb in the future. I knew for sure that from then on I would not be carrying cylinders of oxygen”.
Using a lightweight approach, Doug went on to continue his outstanding mountaineering career – making over forty first ascents in the Himalaya and Greater Ranges. He also felt a need to set out to help the mountain people of Nepal who had helped him achieve these climbs. He did this by setting up the charity Community Action Nepal
Chris Bonington, CAN’s very active Patron, commented ‘actually, what Doug’s achieved with Community Action Nepal is even more impressive than his climb on Everest. He and his team have set up over forty projects – health posts, schools, porter rescue shelters and other community buildings in some of the most remote and poorest communities in Nepal. Sadly the recent earthquake has destroyed or badly damaged all of the project buildings’.
After his lecture Doug will be raising funds, to restore the projects and buildings, by selling Nepalese goods and auctioning signed framed mountain prints. He will also be selling copies of his autobiography – Life and Hard Times.
To find out where Doug’s talking please visit www.canepal.org.uk