On 24 September 1975, Doug Scott and Dougal Haston became the first Britons to reach the summit of Everest and they returned home national heroes. Scott went on to become one of Britain's greatest ever mountaineers. In Up and About, Scott tells his story from his birth in Nottingham during the darkest days of war to the summit of the world.
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'A full and fascinating portrait of one of the great figures of mountaineering.' – Michael Palin 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.
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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