Most Nepal-holics know the names of Toni Hagen, Edmund Hillary, Boris, Father Moran, Liz Hawley and Jimmy Roberts … all notable foreigners who, with love and dedication, have unselfishly contributed to the development and betterment of Nepal.
But the general public may not have heard of Doug Scott who, like Herman Buhl, Walter Bonatti and Reinhold Messner, was a mountaineering legend in his own lifetime. He now joins the list of ‘great givers to Nepal’.
He made numerous first and ground-breaking ascents in the UK, big wall climbs on Baffin Island and in the US, plus explorations like the pioneering 1965 trip to the Tibesti mountains in northern Chad.
In the Himalaya and Karakoram, he added 30 first ascents during 40 expeditions. He was the champion of purist Alpine style climbing — using no Sherpa support, no fixed ropes, no oxygen … climbing or attempting virtually only unclimbed mountains, or new routes on established peaks.
Doug (Keith) Scott was born in 1940 and died at home in UK on Monday 7 December. He was harder and bolder than those who had gone before him on epic climbs of Everest, Kangchenjunga, Shivling, Nanga Parbat, The Ogre (where he broke both ankles and had to crawl for days to reach Base Camp).
The list of climbs is longer than a Welsh railway station’s name, and led to numerous honours and titles. None of which he sought, but his favourite was the Piolet d’Or Lifetime Achievement, the Oscar of Mountaineering. The style and boldness of his climbs were praised for being nothing short of ‘visionary’.
His most legendary climb was the first ascent of the Southwest Face of Mt Everest in 1975, not the ‘tourist route’ up the South Col, but hugely technical face of the world’s highest mountain. He did use oxygen on this climb, but his cylinder ran out as he and Dougal Haston reached the higher point on earth.
The sun was going down, so they spent the night just under the summit: no oxygen, no tent, no mats, no sleeping bags, no stove – and descended safely the next day.