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EverestHistory.com: Doug Scott


Doug Scott was born in Nottingham England in 1941 to a world embroiled in war. Within 4 years the war in Europe would be over and within 12 young Doug Scott would discover a joy in climbing. Another 20 years would find Scott standing at the summit of Everest as part of the British Expedition of 1975.

When Scott and his ropemate Scotsman Dougal Haston woke in the early morning darkness of September 24, 1975 they knew a brutal climb and possibly an even more dangerous night lay ahead of them. There were facing a monumental task in just ascending Everest, that they would be climbing by the Southwest Face, a new and difficult route added an element of the unknown. In the world above 8,000 meters what you don’t know can definitely hurt, and even kill you.

They began their climb at 3:30am with sunrise still hours away. Nearly twelve hours later, after fighting a balky oxygen unit, and waist deep powdery snow they reached the South Summit. Though it was already late in the day for an assault on the summit the route to the Hillary Step and the peak itself lay stretched out before them. After some deliberation and testing of the route’s conditions they set off for the final ascent.

At 6pm the two men stepped side-by-side onto the summit completing their trek up the unclimbed South West Face. The question soon became how to get down off the mountain alive and live to tell of their ascent. With night fast approaching the men trekked toward the South Summit. It was full on moonless night by the time they reached their goal and decided it was simply too dangerous to continue down in darkness.

There was no choice but to bivouac at 28,750 feet – the highest bivouac ever, and wait for morning. Unlike the American expedition of 1963 which bivouacked lower at 28,000 feet, Scott and Haston were able to enlarge a snow cave they had dug earlier in the day and gain some shelter from the wind if not the bitter cold.

After a rough night during which both men suffered hallucinations from the cold, lack of oxygen and fatigue they emerged from the ice cave and stumbled into camp at 9am. They were cold and suffering from 30 hours without food or warmth but they were safe and unlike the 1963 expedition, they were not frostbitten.

Following his experiences on Everest Scott went on to marry Indian climber Sharavati (Sharu) Prabhu and found a charitable trust to fund community development projects in climbing areas.

Now in his late 50’s Scott continues to climb and work with both his own trekking company and his charitable foundation in Nepal. In May of 1995 Scott climbed the Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia completing his ascent of the “Seven Summits”, all the highest peaks on each continent.

Doug Scott was born in 1941, by the age of 12 this English native was well on his way to becoming one of the world’s leading high altitude and big wall climbers. Over his career Doug has made over 45 expeditions to Asia, he has reached the summit of 40 high altitude peaks there and half of them were first ascents. His climb up Everest in 1975 was no exception. He became the first Briton to summit Everest and him and his climbing partner Dougal Haston made a first ascent up the Southwest Face.

The pair began their climb at 3:30am on September 24, 1975. They did not reach the summit of Everest until 6pm, as the sun was setting. It was a moonless evening and they were unable to descend through the darkness. They had to bivouac at 28,750 ft. The highest bivouac in history. Despite a long, cold night of suffering hallucinations and lack of oxygen the two men survived and stumbled into camp the following morning at 9am. Neither man suffered from frostbite.

With the exception of the 1975 Everest expedition all of Doug’s climbs have been accomplished in lightweight alpine style without the aid of supplemental oxygen. Today Doug is still climbing 6000-7000m peaks in the Himalayan Mountains and working diligently with Community Action Nepal, a charity Doug co-founded and is currently filling the Operations Director role.  The charities main goals include primary and secondary schools, schools for deaf children, creating health posts and clean water supplies. Doug is also the author of, Himalayan Climber, and Big Wall Climbing.

Today Doug lectures across the world as a motivational speaker, to book Doug e-mail

 




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