Biography of a mountain and the dramatic story of the first ascent
Author: Doug Scott CBE
Paperback publication date: 05 Dec 2019
Paperback ISBN: 9781912560929
SHORTLISTED: Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature 2018
The Ogre, by Doug Scott, is a two-part biography of this enigmatic peak: in the first part, Scott has researched the geography and history of the mountain; part two is the overdue and personal account of his and Chris Bonington's first ascent and their dramatic descent on which Scott suffered two broken legs and Bonington smashed ribs.
'One of the greatest mountaineering survival stories never told.' – The Sunday Times
Some mountains are high; some mountains are hard. Few are both.
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.
Born to a working-class family in Nottingham in 1941, Doug Scott began climbing in Derbyshire, soon progressing to the cliffs of Snowdonia. He became a climbing instructor and completed his first Alpine season at the age of seventeen.
In 1965, aged twenty-four, he went on his first expedition to the Tibesti Mountains. It was to be the start of a love affair with the world’s high mountains. On 24 September 1975, he and his climbing partner Dougal Haston became the first Britons to reach the summit of Mount Everest, and they returned home national heroes.
In total, Scott has made forty-five expeditions to the high mountains of Asia, reaching the summits of forty peaks. With the exception of his ascent of the south-west face of Everest with Haston during Chris Bonington’s 1975 expedition, he has made all his climbs in lightweight or alpine style, without the use of artificial oxygen. He has reached the highest peaks on all seven continents – ‘the seven summits’.
Scott was made a CBE in 1994 and he is a former president of the Alpine Club. In 1999 he received the Royal Geographical Society Patron’s Gold Medal, and in 2011 he was awarded the Piolets d’Or Lifetime Achievement award, during the presentation of which his mountaineering style was described as ‘visionary’. In 1975 he founded Community Action Nepal (CAN), a UK-based charity whose aim is to support the mountain people of Nepal. Scott continues to climb, write and lecture, avidly supporting the work of CAN.
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