||"One can only go in
and hope. When one finally comes out of the icy mess
into the Western Cwm, it is like being in a newer,
Haston, speaking of his experiences in Everestís
When Dougal Haston was born in the parish of Currie on the
West Side of Edinburgh in 1940 his future was set. Even with the war on Haston
seemed destined to follow in the footsteps of countless others into a life of
work in the mills and shops and on into obscurity. However, history and
Everest would hold an entirely different destiny for Dougal Haston.
Haston developed at taste for climbing while trekking about
the Pentlands in Scotland. Rock climbing skills were acquired by clambering
up railway and riverside walls around Currie. Already showing a mischievous
streak, which would become darker later in life, Haston and friends would
climb to the top of Currie Church and leave things, including womenís
underwear, atop the flagpole.
He soon began rock and ice climbing and struck up a
friendship with another climber, Robin Smith, who like so many others would
die climbing. Smith died in 1962, 4 years before Haston gained fame for the
first direct (bottom to top) ascent of the North Face of the Eiger
(Switzerland). Though a broken rope would claim the life of American climbing
great John Harlin during the climb, Haston would finish the ascent with a
group of German climbers and name the route John Harlin Direct.
||His run-up to Everest included the first
climb of the South Face of Annapurna in 1970, and the first summit of
Changabang in India in 1974. Along with fellow Briton Doug Scott, Haston
summited Everest via a previously unclimbed route up the South West Face.
Though forced to spend the night following their summit huddled in a
hand-dug snow cave at the South Summit the two emerged unharmed by their
experience. Later that same year Haston would participate in the first
climb of the South West face of Mount McKinley in Alaska.
Hastonís exploits away from the climbing routes were as
legendary as his feats of mountaineering. He led a life renown for drinking,
fighting, stealing and risky climbs which would culminate in a drunk-driving
accident in which a person was killed, a conviction and prison time.
His career as a climber was cut short by an avalanche while
skiing in the Alps in 1977. There is a plaque honoring him on a railway bride
in Currie where he was born and learned to climb.