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The Ogre: Biography of a mountain and the dramatic story of the first ascent

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Some mountains are high; some mountains are hard. Few are both.On the afternoon of 13 July 1977, having become the first climbers to reach the summit of the Ogre, Doug Scott and Chris Bonington began their long descent. In the minutes that followed, any feeling of success from their achievement would be overwhelmed by the start of a desperate fight for survival. And things Some mountains are high; some mountains are hard. Few are both.On the afternoon of 13 July 1977, having become the first climbers to reach the summit of the Ogre, Doug Scott and Chris Bonington began their long descent. In the minutes that followed, any feeling of success from their achievement would be overwhelmed by the start of a desperate fight for survival. And things would only get worse.Rising to over 7,000 metres in the centre of the Karakoram, the Ogre – Baintha Brakk – is notorious in mountaineering circles as one of the most difficult mountains to climb. First summited by Scott and Bonington in 1977 – on expedition with Paul ‘Tut’ Braithwaite, Nick Estcourt, Clive Rowland and Mo Anthoine – it waited almost twenty-four years for a second ascent, and a further eleven years for a third. The Ogre, by legendary mountaineer Doug Scott, is a two-part biography of this enigmatic peak: in the first part, Scott has painstakingly researched the geography and history of the mountain; part two is the long overdue and very personal account of his and Bonington’s first ascent and their dramatic week-long descent on which Scott suffered two broken legs and Bonington smashed ribs. Using newly discovered diaries, letters and audio tapes, it tells of the heroic and selfless roles played by Clive Rowland and Mo Anthoine. When the desperate climbers finally made it back to base camp, they were to find it abandoned – and themselves still a long way from safety.The Ogre is undoubtedly one of the greatest adventure stories of all time.


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Some mountains are high; some mountains are hard. Few are both.On the afternoon of 13 July 1977, having become the first climbers to reach the summit of the Ogre, Doug Scott and Chris Bonington began their long descent. In the minutes that followed, any feeling of success from their achievement would be overwhelmed by the start of a desperate fight for survival. And things Some mountains are high; some mountains are hard. Few are both.On the afternoon of 13 July 1977, having become the first climbers to reach the summit of the Ogre, Doug Scott and Chris Bonington began their long descent. In the minutes that followed, any feeling of success from their achievement would be overwhelmed by the start of a desperate fight for survival. And things would only get worse.Rising to over 7,000 metres in the centre of the Karakoram, the Ogre – Baintha Brakk – is notorious in mountaineering circles as one of the most difficult mountains to climb. First summited by Scott and Bonington in 1977 – on expedition with Paul ‘Tut’ Braithwaite, Nick Estcourt, Clive Rowland and Mo Anthoine – it waited almost twenty-four years for a second ascent, and a further eleven years for a third. The Ogre, by legendary mountaineer Doug Scott, is a two-part biography of this enigmatic peak: in the first part, Scott has painstakingly researched the geography and history of the mountain; part two is the long overdue and very personal account of his and Bonington’s first ascent and their dramatic week-long descent on which Scott suffered two broken legs and Bonington smashed ribs. Using newly discovered diaries, letters and audio tapes, it tells of the heroic and selfless roles played by Clive Rowland and Mo Anthoine. When the desperate climbers finally made it back to base camp, they were to find it abandoned – and themselves still a long way from safety.The Ogre is undoubtedly one of the greatest adventure stories of all time.

30 review for The Ogre: Biography of a mountain and the dramatic story of the first ascent

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    When I read this book we all lived in a different world – one where deciding to climb a dangerous mountain was more life-threatening than leaving your own house. Strange times we live in, folks… Anyhoo – the book. The Ogre is an account of one the people who did indeed try to climb the titular mountain, one that is apparently notorious amongst climbers for being extremely difficult. The first half of the book gives us an overview of the mountain, the region it inhabits and the history of climbing When I read this book we all lived in a different world – one where deciding to climb a dangerous mountain was more life-threatening than leaving your own house. Strange times we live in, folks… Anyhoo – the book. The Ogre is an account of one the people who did indeed try to climb the titular mountain, one that is apparently notorious amongst climbers for being extremely difficult. The first half of the book gives us an overview of the mountain, the region it inhabits and the history of climbing. It’s interesting if a tad dry, but the second part is better. Giving an account of the ascent of his group, it already wasn’t plain sailing when they finally reached the summit. But here’s where things got really ‘interesting’ as Scott slips during the descent and manages to smash his legs to smithereens. And then the friend who’s helping him down the mountain smashes his ribs to dust. But there’s no hope for help – just a painfully grim inching down the mountain only to find base camp abandoned as everyone thinks you’re dead. While The Ogre is never going to be up there with the best books on mountaineering – it’s too slight for that – the second part still made it a worthwhile read (especially if you’ve ever laboured under the illusion that climbing mountains is a Good Idea) Apparently planned as one of a series of other mountain books, Scott would do well to ditch the two part format and just stick to the stories of the climbers as, let’s face it, that’s all I’m really here for. **Also posted at Cannonball Read 12**

  2. 4 out of 5

    Steve Chilton

    Knew the story well, but wanted to read this because I had just seen his lecture on it at RGS, and it promised some new material that had been found, and a history of the mountain itself. The description of the accident and the descent was excellent, but I found the buildup about the mountain and early Karakoram explorers a little dry.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Eme Morato

    A book on human resilience and spiritual fortitude. You don't have to a climber, mountaineer or alpinist to find valuable life lessons in Doug Scott's tale of perseverance, strength and a burning desire to live. A book on human resilience and spiritual fortitude. You don't have to a climber, mountaineer or alpinist to find valuable life lessons in Doug Scott's tale of perseverance, strength and a burning desire to live.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alex Ekins

    A well produced book with loads of pictures to accompany the writing on the culture and history of the region and its exploration. The story of Doug Scott's survival on the mountain is one of the great epics of mountaineering history. A well produced book with loads of pictures to accompany the writing on the culture and history of the region and its exploration. The story of Doug Scott's survival on the mountain is one of the great epics of mountaineering history.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Strawberry

    Wow, I’m surprised by how taken in I was by this book and how much I enjoyed reading it. Located in the Karakoram mountain range is the Ogre, a notoriously difficult mountain to climb. Nobody managed to reach the summit until Doug Scott and his climbing partner Chris Bonnington in 1977, however the joy of reaching the top was to be over-shadowed by the dramatic events of their descent. The book is split into two parts, the first explains the history of the mountain from the geography and geology Wow, I’m surprised by how taken in I was by this book and how much I enjoyed reading it. Located in the Karakoram mountain range is the Ogre, a notoriously difficult mountain to climb. Nobody managed to reach the summit until Doug Scott and his climbing partner Chris Bonnington in 1977, however the joy of reaching the top was to be over-shadowed by the dramatic events of their descent. The book is split into two parts, the first explains the history of the mountain from the geography and geology all the way through to the people who first discovered it and helped to map out the surrounding area. This part of the book was surprisingly interesting for me especially as being new to reading about mountaineering I didn’t know much about where the Ogre was let alone the history of it and the surrounding area. There is some basic geography on how the Karakoram mountains were formed along with some stunning images of the area, the book then moves on to explain the history of how the mountains and the Ogre was discovered. Although I was keen to read the second part of the book in which the author and his team make the dramatic ascent and descent of the Ogre, I really enjoyed this first half as it made me understand the area more and somehow made the individual story of climbing the mountain feel more real. The second part of the book contains the story of the author and his group’s ascent and descent of the Ogre. At the start there is a brief biography of each man involved followed by the story of their march to base camp and then the actual climb. It’s this part of the book that is my favourite. I won’t go into the details of their climb but it was an amazing story to read. Although the actual journey of the group’s descent is dramatic the entire story of their march and climb is exciting to read too, and what I enjoyed is the honesty and personal feel the story had. Throughout the tale you not only learn about the technical difficulties they faced with the climb but you get to read about all the wonderful personal moments that they shared including the dark humour which I enjoyed. There are lots of photographs placed throughout the text of the book. In the first part there are many photographs of the people who explored the Karakoram mountain area as well as some images of the area, both new and old. It’s the second half of the book that has the majority of the photographs though as these are all photos taken during the 1977 climb of the Ogre. These photographs really help you imagine the climb and how hard it was for Scott’s group. There are some stunning images of the mountain itself as well as a few of them labelled so you can see the route taken. All the pages of the book are thick and glossy which makes the images stand out even more. I really enjoyed looking at these pictures and I can’t help but keep looking back at this book after reading it just to see the photographs. There are a couple uses of the s swear word but there isn’t anything else that would be considered offensive. The inside covers have maps of the area showing not only the countries but some of the most well known mountains. These are great to have especially if, like me, you don’t know the area well. I’m still surprised with how much I enjoyed this book. It’s so easy to get into, especially when reading about the climb and I loved the afterword and how Scott has dedicated some of his later years to helping the people in the area. This book has been mentioned as the first of a series and I really do hope to read more. Not only is it exciting and interesting to read about the climb to the top of the mountain but it’s also a wonderful extra to have such detailed information about the history of the mountain’s discovery. -Thanks to Vertebrate Publishing for a free copy.

  6. 5 out of 5

    John

    The last 1/5 of the book - when the author details his ascent and descent of the mountain - was truly riveting and reads like an action movie. While the rest of the book was well written and provides exacting, but sometimes painful, detail of the history of mountaineering in Pakistan and other regions, it takes far too long to arrive at "the point" of the story - climbing the Ogre. The last 1/5 of the book - when the author details his ascent and descent of the mountain - was truly riveting and reads like an action movie. While the rest of the book was well written and provides exacting, but sometimes painful, detail of the history of mountaineering in Pakistan and other regions, it takes far too long to arrive at "the point" of the story - climbing the Ogre.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    As with every Doug Scott book I’ve read so far, The Ogre is very well written and full of interesting stories from both the author and his friends. It’s not often I say this, but I wish this book was longer.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Wayne

    The writing is not that great to be honest and it turns what was obviously an epic into something seemingly mundane. One of the most poorly written epics I've ever read, however the photos are stunning and there are very many of the,. Definitely a book of two sides - poor writing, amazing photos. The writing is not that great to be honest and it turns what was obviously an epic into something seemingly mundane. One of the most poorly written epics I've ever read, however the photos are stunning and there are very many of the,. Definitely a book of two sides - poor writing, amazing photos.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brian Slevin

    First hand account of one of the greatest mountain ascents ever. Best in mind that that first 40% or so of the book covers the history of the charting of the Karakoram Rage, The East India Company, and the British Empire in India. I'm a history buff so enjoyed this, but might not be for everyone. First hand account of one of the greatest mountain ascents ever. Best in mind that that first 40% or so of the book covers the history of the charting of the Karakoram Rage, The East India Company, and the British Empire in India. I'm a history buff so enjoyed this, but might not be for everyone.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Oleg

    great book about friendship and humanity

  11. 5 out of 5

    Pete George

    Great pictures, a good story

  12. 4 out of 5

    David Waters

  13. 4 out of 5

    Franz Huber

  14. 5 out of 5

    Blue Moon

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alan Stephen

  16. 4 out of 5

    david sari

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lee Harrison

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tim Sunderlin

  19. 4 out of 5

    Karen

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jon Barton

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ben

  22. 5 out of 5

    Charlie Gray

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kim R McVeigh

  24. 5 out of 5

    D.P.MORGAN

  25. 5 out of 5

    Stuart White

  26. 5 out of 5

    bill holsten

  27. 5 out of 5

    Phillip Dyne

  28. 4 out of 5

    Janet Palmer

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mr Samuel J Dawes

  30. 4 out of 5

    TrueGallant

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