Posts Tagged ‘Community Action Nepal’

Everest 45 years ago

Thursday, September 24th, 2020

To my left is Doug Scott CBE, who 45 years ago today (24th September) stood on the summit of Everest with Dougal Haston to make the first British ascent. Not only that, it was the first ascent of the south-west face, a route which many had deemed impossible (it hasn’t been climbed many times since). They arrived on the summit as the sun was going down, and with not enough time to get down to their top camp, they instead spent the night in a snow hole 100 metres below the summit. With no sleeping bags, and despite their bottled oxygen running out, they survived the night, and without frostbite!

Many have climbed Everest since via the technically undemanding “tourist route,” with Sherpa assistance and fixed ropes – but that’s light years away from the monumental achievement of the 1975 British South-West Face Everest Expedition. Doug’s other exploits have been the stuff of legend, too, and his climbing style has been described as visionary.

Doug was still climbing big mountains when I met him through a mutual friend in the mid-1980s – he seconded my application to become a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and it was my pleasure to help out with a bit of PR for a couple of his climbs, and later, when he started to organise trekking holidays, along with his charity Community Action Nepal, which has built many schools and health centres throughout Nepal. I even got to be guest trek leader on one of his treks!

Doug Scott in Norwich

Friday, July 10th, 2015

My old friend Doug Scott CBE has been busy in the last few months fund-raising for his charity Community Action Nepal to help with earthquake relief in Nepal. CAN has been active in Nepal for many years, and had built schools and health centres throughout the country. Now after two devastating earthquakes, many of those have to be rebuilt. So far this current effort has raised nearly £1 million, and unlike any aid money channelled through the corrupt Nepalese government, every pound donated to CAN will get to help the people most in need.

And so Doug Scott came to Norwich with a new lecture entitled “The Three Peaks: Everest – K2 – Kangchenjunga”. He was of course the first Brit to climb Everest (Chris Bonington’s South-West Face expedition, 1975). You might expect lots of tales of scary moments and derring-do (of which there were plenty), but they were interspersed with philosophical and thought-provoking interludes, all illustrated with Doug’s stunning photographs. He’ll be taking the lecture to other venues around the UK – check the CAN website for venues and dates.

His Norwich lecture was run in conjunction with the Cavell Nurses Trust, which exists to help nurses who may have fallen on hard times. Nurse Edith Cavell was a Norfolk woman, the centenary of whose execution at the hands of the Germans in World War One is being marked this year.