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.
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About the Author
Born in Nottingham in 1941, Doug Scott began climbing in Derbyshire when he was thirteen and without any obvious plan in it was soon discovering the cliffs of Snowdonia, Scotland, the Alps and the Dolomites. He completed his first Alpine season at the age of eighteen. In 1965, aged twenty-three, he went on his first organised expedition, to the Tibesti Mountains of Chad. It was to be the first of many trips to the high mountains of the world. On 24 September 1975, he and his climbing partner Dougal Haston became the first Britons to reach the summit of Mount Everest, via the formidable South-West Face, and they became national heroes. In total, Scott has made forty-two expeditions to the high mountains of Asia, reaching the summits of forty peaks. With the exception of his ascent of Everest, he has made all his climbs in lightweight or alpine style and without the use of supplementary oxygen. Scott was made a CBE in 1984. He is a former president of the Alpine Club, and in 1999 he received the Royal Geographical Society Patron’s Gold Medal. In 2011 he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Piolets d’Or, during the presentation of which his mountaineering style was described as ‘visionary’. In 1995 he founded Community Action Nepal (CAN), a UK-based registered charity whose aim is to help mountaineers to support the mountain people of Nepal. Scott continues to climb, write and lecture, avidly supporting the work of CAN. He is the author of five books, including Up and About, his first volume of autobiography, published in 2015.