Kangchenjunga: The Himalayan Giant: Scott, Doug
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Kangchenjunga: The Himalayan Giant

Author(s): Scott, Doug

Copyright: 2021, UK
Specifications: 1st, 8vo, pp.ix, 273, 32 color & 4 bw photos, 2 color illus, 3 maps, blue cloth
Condition: dj & cloth new

Completed before his death in 2020, and edited by Catherine Moorehead, Kangchenjunga is Doug Scott’s final book. Doug explores the mountain and its varied people – the mountain sits on the border between Nepal and Sikkim in north-east India – before going on to look at Western approaches and early climbing attempts on the mountain. Kangchenjunga was in fact long believed to be the highest mountain in the world, until in the nineteenth century it was demonstrated that Peak XV – Everest – was taller. Out of respect for the beliefs of the Sikkimese, no climber has ever set foot on the very top of Kangchenjunga, the sacred summit.

Doug’s own relationship with the mountain began in 1978, three years after his first British ascent of Everest with Dougal Haston. The assembled team featured some of the greatest mountaineers in history: Scott, Joe Tasker, Peter Boardman, and Georges Bettembourg. The plan was for a stripped-down expedition the following spring – minimal Sherpa support, no radios, largely self-financed. It was the first time a mountain of this scale had been attempted by a new and difficult route without the use of oxygen, and with such a small team. Scott, Tasker, and Boardman summited on 16 May 1979, further consolidating their legends in this golden era.

In 2015 Doug’s book ‘Up and About: The Hard Road to Everest’ was published. It was the first volume of a planned two-part autobiography and ended with the successful 1975 ascent of Everest’s Southwest Face. Volume two was to encompass the subsequent climbs of Doug’s amazing career. However, his climbing and humanitarian relief following the 2015 Nepal earthquake both took his focus away from volume two. About this time audio cassettes from the 1977 Ogre climb were discovered which led to Doug writing his account of that mountain’s history and their remarkable climb. It was envisioned at this time that perhaps future books would focus on a single peak covering its history and Doug’s climbs, volume two would have to wait. Fortunately, Doug has left us with Kangchenjunga, and a yearning for more. I look back fondly on the two occasions when I hosted Doug at my home for lectures he gave here at the University of Vermont.

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