Inspiring portraits

A mountaineering survival story

Doug Scott is a great high altitude mountaineer. He was the first Brit to climb Everest with Dougal Haston in 1975, after they found a new route on the Southwest face. He is known for the first ascent of Baintha Brakk (7285m), known as The Ogre, with Chris Bonington in 1977, which became a struggle for survival when he broke both of his legs on the way down.

‘A Crawl Down The Ogre’ tells the story of his greatest challenge … and his greatest escape.

Without crampons, Doug and Chris reached the summit at sunset after a technical climb up a vertical rock ascent. Doug recalls : “Without looking, I stepped on to a veneer of water ice that had formed in the evening cold from melted snow.”

“In that careless moment I lost control.”

“Without crampons, my feet slid across the ice, off into the air. Still on the rope, I was galloping faster and faster to try to gain control, before twisting out across the face at speed towards a wall of rock and ice. Putting my feet up to try to protect myself, I slammed into the buffers. Splat went my legs.”

He knew immediately that both of his legs were broken

“I realised I’d messed up and that we were unlikely to reach the snow cave, sleeping bags and a brew that night.”

What happened next is part of mountaineering history. After Chris Bonington had managed to abseil down and join him, these two climbers survived for five days. Chris Bonington damaged his ribs, as well as contracting pneumonia, during the way down.

After eight days, they made it to base camp!

Bonington kept his promise to Doug Scott : “We will get you down somehow, whatever happens.”

If Doug Scott had join Klif Climbing Club before his expedition, he might no have broken his two legs by lack of gear, who knows?!

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