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At dusk on 24 September 1975, Doug Scott and Dougal Haston became the first Britons to reach the summit of Everest as lead climbers on Chris Bonington’s epic expedition to the mountain’s immense south-west face.
As darkness fell, Scott and Haston scraped a small cave in the snow 100 metres below the summit and survived the highest bivouac ever – without bottled oxygen, sleeping bags and, as it turned out, frostbite. For Doug Scott, it was the fulfilment of a fortune-teller’s prophecy given to his mother: that her eldest son would be in danger in a high place with the whole world watching.
Scott and Haston returned home national heroes with their image splashed across the front pages. Scott went on to become one of Britain’s greatest ever mountaineers, pioneering new climbs in the remotest corners of the globe. His career spans the golden age of British climbing from the 1960s boom in outdoor adventure to the new wave of lightweight alpinism throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
In Up and About, the first volume of his autobiography, Scott tells his story from his birth in Nottingham during the darkest days of war to the summit of the world. Surviving the unplanned bivouac without oxygen near the summit of Everest widened the range of what and how he would climb in the future. In fact, Scott established more climbs on the high mountains of the world after his ascent of Everest than before. Those climbs will be covered in the second volume of his life and times.
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