Doug Scott, CBE, told the story of how he and Dougal Haston made the first ascent of the world’s highest mountain by its massive South West Face forty years ago. Their epic climb would go down in mountaineering history as ‘Everest the Hard Way’.
In typically modest and understated fashion Doug entertained the audience of 200 with anecdotes from this climb, illustrated with his stunning photographs as well. These ranged from gruesome pictures of frost nip to the fingers and the dizzying panorama from camp 6 down the face to camp 2 some 8,000 feet below. Doug quipped that if you lost your footing here you arrived in camp two moments later and not in such good shape!
It was a fascinating insight into the levels of personal endurance required to climb the tallest peak on the planet. These ranged from the outer body experience when leading the final pitch to the summit in which he watched himself from somewhere over his left shoulder veering off course and then telling himself he should move left before walking over the edge. He also recounted the experience of enduring the night without oxygen in a snow cave just below the summit in which he remembered spending time talking to his left foot, that is when it wasn’t under Dougal Haston’s armpit to keep it warm and so stave off frost bite.
Doug went on to show us footage of the many projects supported by his charity Community Action Nepal and the devastating effect that last year’s earthquake has had on so many of these communities.
As well as listening to the talk, the audience had the opportunity to buy framed photographs, a range of Nepalese goods and signed copies of Doug’s recent autobiography ‘Up and About’. I am delighted to say that people were most generous. The whole evening was a great success and we raised a total of £4,106 for the earthquake appeal.