Doug Scott

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Douglas Keith Scott CBE FRSGS (born 29 May 1941) is an English mountaineer noted for the first ascent of the south-west face of Mount Everest on 24 September 1975. In receiving one of mountaineering's highest honours, the Piolet d'Or Lifetime Achievement Award, his personal style and climbs were described as "visionary".[1]

Over the years he has been on 40 expeditions to the high mountains of Asia, during which he made some 30 first ascents.


Scott was educated in Nottingham at Cottesmore Secondary Modern and Mundella Grammar schools[2]. He started climbing at the age of 13, his interest sparked by seeing climbers on the Black Rocks in Derbyshire whilst hiking with the Scouts[3]. His father, George Douglas Scott, was a policeman and committed amateur sportsman – running, swimming and achieved fame as a boxer, becoming Amateur Boxing Association British Heavyweight Champion in 1945. Scott lived on the outskirts of Nottingham with his father and mother, Edith Joyce Scott, and younger brothers, Brian and Garry. All were encouraged towards the open countryside, particularly the Peak District.

Family Life[edit]

Doug Scott in 2010

After two years at Loughborough Teachers’ Training College (1959-61), Scott taught geography, history, PE and games for ten years at his old secondary modern school. In 1962 he married Janice Brook, with whom he had three children, Michael, Martha and Rosie. The marriage was dissolved in 1988. In 1993 he married Sharabati Prabhu, with whom he had two sons, Arran and Euan. The marriage was dissolved in 2003. In 2007 he married Patricia Lang; they have lived happily in the Northern Fells of the Lake District ever since.

Main Interests[edit]

  • Athletics
  • Hill walking and rock climbing
  • Rugby - founding member of Nottingham Modern's RFC, 1956
  • Mountaineering
  • Mountain photography
  • Organic vegetable gardening


Scott is regarded as one of the world’s leading high altitude and big wall climbers. He is best known for surviving an unplanned bivouac with Dougal Haston 100 metres below the summit of Everest, without oxygen, sleeping bags and, as it turned out, without frostbite. Apart from his first ascent of the southwest face of Everest with Haston, all his other Himalayan climbs were achieved in lightweight or pure Alpine style. He pioneered big wall climbing on Baffin Island, Mount Kenya and in the Karakoram, famously on The Ogre (Baintha Brakk) with Chris Bonington, and later on Shivling in the Indian Himal.

Highlights of Scott’s climbing career include:

  • 1965: Tarso Tiroko, Tibesti mountains of Chad with Ray Gillies, Clive Davies and Pete Warrington
  • 1967: South face of Koh-i-Bandaka, Hindu Kush with Ray Gillies
  • 1970: Salathe Wall of El Capitan with Peter Habeler
  • 1972: Mount Asgard, Baffin Island with Dennis Hennek, Paul Nunn and Paul Braithwaite
  • 1974: Changabang, first ascent with Bonington, Haston et al
  • 1974: Pic Lenin, Pamirs, with Clive Rowland, Guy Lee, Braithwaite
  • 1975: Southwest face of Everest, with Haston
  • 1976: South face Denali, Alaska, with Haston
  • 1977: Baintha Brakk (more commonly known as The Ogre), Karakoram, with Bonington, and descent with both legs broken at the ankle with the selfless help of Mo Anthoine and Clive Rowland
  • 1978: Mount Waddington, Canada, with Rob Wood
  • 1979: North ridge of Kangchenjunga, with Pete Boardman and Jo Tasker.
  • 1979: Nuptse, North face, Nepal, with Georges Bettembourg, Brian Hall and Alan Rouse
  • 1981: Shivling, India, with Bettemboug, Greg Child and Rick White
  • 1982: Shishapangma, Tibet, south face, with Alex MacIntyre and Roger Baxter-Jones
  • 1983: Lobsang Spire, Karakoram, with Child and Peter Thexton
  • 1984: Chamlang, East ridge, Nepal, with Michael Scott, Jean Afanassieff and Ang Phurba
  • 1988: Jitchu Drake, Bhutan, with Prabhu and Victor Saunders
  • 1992: Nanga Parbat, Central Mazeno Peaks, with Sergey Efimov, Alan Hinkes, Ang Phurba and Nga Temba.
  • 1998: Drohmo, South pillar, Nepal, with Roger Mear
  • 2000: Targo Ri, Central Tibet, with Julian Freeman-Attwood and Richard Cowper

Scott is a founder member of the Nottingham Climbers Club (1961), was president of the Alpine Climbing Group (1976-82), Vice president BMC (1994-97) and president of the Alpine Club (1999-2001). He was made a CBE in 1994. In 1999 he was awarded the Patron’s Medal of the Royal Geographical Society. In 2005 he was presented with the Golden Eagle Award by the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild. Also in 2005, following on from Tom Weir and Adam Watson, he became the third recipient of the John Muir Trust Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his mountaineering accomplishments and commitment to conservation and supporting mountain people and mountain environments around the world. Following on from Walter Bonatti and Reinhold Messner he received the Piolet d'Or Lifetime Achievement Award in Chamonix in 2011.

Scott was made a Freeman of the City of Nottingham in 1976 and has since had a Nottingham tram named after him. He was awarded an honorary MA by the universities of Nottingham and Loughborough, 1993, Hon. MEd Nottingham Trent, 1995, Hon Dr. Derby University, 2007; and Hon Dr. Loughborough University, 2017;

Voluntary work for mountaineering[edit]

Scott was a member of the Hunt Committee contributing to the Hunt Report on Outdoor Education 1976.

He was BMC representative on the UIAA and is a member of the UIAA Management Committee: 2008 - 2012 ; Member of UIAA Mountaineering Commission and Chairman of the Traditional Values Working Group 2011 - present. Scott edited the well-received document 'The UIAA's Recommendations for Preserving Natural Rock for Adventure Climbing'

He was Chairman of Mount Everest Foundation 2014 - 2017 and Vice Chairman of the Mountain Heritage Trust 2014 - 2017

He is Hon Member of the Climbers Club, The Alpine Club and the American Alpine Club

He is a Patron of the BMC 2015 - present

Charity work in Nepal[edit]

Doug Scott.
Doug Scott in Nepal 2015.

During Scott's climbing career, his understanding of the culture and the people in the regions where he climbed grew as he formed strong bonds and relationships. In 1991 he raised the funds and organised the installation of 17 fresh water standpipes in Askole, the last settlement before K2, that reduced infant mortality by half. Scott founded the charity Community Action Nepal (CAN) and spends much of his time fundraising for this cause and regularly visits some of the 60 CAN projects out in Nepal. Scott is also an advocate of Responsible Tourism, setting up Community Action Treks (CAT) in 1989 to help improve conditions of labour in the trekking industry. He received the British Guild of Travel Writers Tourism and Community Merit Award, 1996 and CAT received the Responsible Tourism Award 2008. CAN was awarded the first British Expertise International (BEI) Charity Project of the Year Award along with CAN's partner, WYG in 2017.


  • Doug Scott, Big Wall Climbing, ISBN 0-7182-0967-2
  • Doug Scott and Alex MacIntyre, The Shishapangma Expedition, ISBN 0-89886-723-1
  • Doug Scott, Himalayan Climber: A Lifetime's Quest to the World's Greater Ranges, ISBN 1-898573-16-6
  • Doug Scott, Up and About, The Hard Road to Everest (2015) ISBN 978-1-910240-41-0
  • Doug Scott, "The Ogre" (2017) ISBN 978-1-911342-79-3

Contributed to:


  1. ^ Piolet d'Or "Archived copy". Archived from option%3Dcom_content%26view%3Darticle%26id%3D153%26Itemid%3D273%26lang%3Den the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 4 August 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "SCHOOLS Cottesmore School". The Educated School Guide. Archived from the original on 9 December 2014. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  3. ^ " Doug Scott". Everest History.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]