Prominent mountaineer coming to Squamish

Doug Scott will speak about descending a 7,000-metre spire with two broken legs, also featuring veteran ice climber Rob Wood

In popular culture, much of the glory in mountaineering comes from climbing up a mountain.

But when Doug Scott made the first ascent of the Ogre in 1977, it’s arguable the most interesting part of the story was the climb down.

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Scott was forced to descend the 7,000-metre spire in Pakistan after breaking both of his legs.

His climbing partner, Chris Bonington, was also fighting an injury of his own after smashing his ribs.

On Oct. 21, Scott will be giving a talk about that adventure at the Eagle Eye Theatre here in Squamish at 7 p.m. It will be based on his book, The Ogre: Biography of a mountain and the dramatic story of the first ascent.

The Englishman is also famed for his first ascent of the south-west face of Mount Everest with Dougal Haston in 1975.

Scott has secured his place in mountaineering by reaching the highest peaks on all seven continents – ‘the seven summits.’

On the verge of his stop in the Sea to Sky, the prominent outdoorsman had some kind words to say about the granite around town.

“I thought the rock at Squamish was perhaps the best I’ve ever climbed on anywhere,” he said in an email to The Chief.

“Those cracks for finger, hand and fist were just made for climbing, with the rock being coarser grained and less slick than Yosemite.”

He also had some observations about the state of the sport.

Scott is one of the main voices in the debate of whether route setters should install bolts on routes, or whether rocks should remain free of human interference.

“[What’s being lost is] basically the chance to have an adventure whereby you protect your own life as you go,” he wrote.

“There’s a great line or two from Bob Dylan, ‘The rules of the road have been lodged, it’s only people’s games you’ve got to dodge.’”

He does acknowledge, however, that bolted climbs allow athletes to perform at a higher level.

But there’s still a chance to feel the thrill that climbers of the past did, he said.

“When it comes down to it, anyone pioneering new routes in traditional fashion will be having similar experiences to the courageous pioneers stretching back down the years,” Scott wrote.

During the talk in Squamish, Scott will also be joined by Rob Wood, one of Canada’s ice climbing pioneers.

Wood, who authored a book called At Home In Nature, will be available for signings. The speaking tour coincides with the 40th anniversary of an adventure that involved both Scott and Wood.

In 1978, the pair climbed Mount Waddington, the highest peak of B.C.’s coastal mountains. Scott will be speaking about this ascent as well.

“After breaking my legs on the Ogre, I went off to Mount Waddington to try them out in the spring of 1978 to see if they’d be okay for K2 that summer — which they were,” he recalled. 

After expenses are covered, all funds raised will go to help Community Action Nepal, which assists the Nepalese porters who accompany mountaineers on their adventures.


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