First published in 1984 as The Shishapangma Expedition, Shishapangma won the first ever Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature. Told through a series of diary-style entries from all the climbers involved, Shishapangma reveals the difficult nature of Himalayan decision-making, mountaineering tacti and climbing relationships. Tense and candid, the six writers see every event differently, reacting in different ways and pulling no punches in their opinions of the other mountaineers – quite literally at one point. Nonetheless, the climbers, at the peak of their considerable powers and experience, completed an extremely committing enterprise. The example set by their fine climb survives and several new routes (all done in alpine style) have now been added to this magnificent face.
For well-trained climbers, such ascents are fast and efficient, but the consequences of error, misjudgement or bad luck can be terminal and, sadly, soon afterwards two of the participants were struck down in mountaineering accidents – MacIntyre hit by stonefall on Annapurna's South Face and Baxter-Jones being caught by an ice avalanche on the Aiguille du Triolet. In addition their support climber, Nick Prescott, died in a Chamonix hospital from an altitude-induced ailment. Shishapangma is a gripping first-hand account of the intense reality of high-altitiude alpinism.
‘A full and fascinating portrait of one of the great figures of mountaineering.’ – Michael Palin
‘As well as relaying the literal ups and downs of the biggest walls and highest mountains in the world, Scott writes with honesty about the emotional and personal peaks and troughs of a life where family relationships are put under strain and life itself is so often at risk.’ – The Westmorland Gazette
At dusk on 24 September 1975, Doug Scott and Dougal Haston became the first Britons to reach the summit of Everest as lead climbers on Chris Bonington’s epic expedition to the mountain’s immense south-west face.
As darkness fell, Scott and Haston scraped a small cave in the snow 100 metres below the summit and survived the highest bivouac ever – without bottled oxygen, sleeping bags and, as it turned out, frostbite. For Doug Scott, it was the fulfilment of a fortune-teller’s prophecy given to his mother: that her eldest son would be in danger in a high place with the whole world watching.
Scott and Haston returned home national heroes with their image splashed across the front pages. Scott went on to become one of Britain’s greatest ever mountaineers, pioneering new climbs in the remotest corners of the globe. His career spans the golden age of British climbing from the 1960s boom in outdoor adventure to the new wave of lightweight alpinism throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
In Up and About, the first volume of his autobiography, Scott tells his story from his birth in Nottingham during the darkest days of war to the summit of the world. Surviving the unplanned bivouac without oxygen near the summit of Everest widened the range of what and how he would climb in the future. In fact, Scott established more climbs on the high mountains of the world after his ascent of Everest than before. Those climbs will be covered in the second volume of his life and times.
On the afternoon of 13 July 1977, having become the first climbers to reach the summit of the Ogre, Doug Scott and Chris Bonington began their long descent. In the minutes that followed, any feeling of success from their achievement would be overwhelmed by the start of a desperate fight for survival. And things would only get worse.
Rising to over 7,000 metres in the centre of the Karakoram, the Ogre – Baintha Brakk – is notorious in mountaineering circles as one of the most difficult mountains to climb. First summited by Scott and Bonington in 1977 – on expedition with Paul ‘Tut’ Braithwaite, Nick Estcourt, Clive Rowland and Mo Anthoine – it waited almost twenty-four years for a second ascent, and a further eleven years for a third.
The Ogre, by legendary mountaineer Doug Scott, is a two-part biography of this enigmatic peak: in the first part, Scott has painstakingly researched the geography and history of the mountain; part two is the long overdue and very personal account of his and Bonington’s first ascent and their dramatic week-long descent on which Scott suffered two broken legs and Bonington smashed ribs. Using newly discovered diaries, letters and audio tapes, it tells of the heroic and selfless roles played by Clive Rowland and Mo Anthoine. When the desperate climbers finally made it back to base camp, they were to find it abandoned – and themselves still a long way from safety.
The Ogre is undoubtedly one of the greatest adventure stories of all time.