Legendary Lake District mountaineer Doug Scott, the first Briton to climb Everest by the south west face, has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain cancer.
He is said to be comfortable at his home in Caldbeck and is taking medication to alleviate the symptoms of cerebral lymphoma.
His family report that he is dealing with this challenge philosophically, courageously and with flashes of his inimitable humour.
Doug, who famously climbed down The Ogre in Pakistan — after becoming the first person to summit the 7,285 metre high mountain — with two broken legs, said he intends to fight on against the disease.
His climbing achievements are legendary, having made notable ascents of Changabang, Kangchenjunga, Nuptse and Shishapangma.
On 40 expeditions to the high mountains of Asia he made 30 first ascents.
After the siege tactics on the great mountains in the 1970s, Doug was a leading advocate of the lightweight alpine-style expeditions which followed.
In 2011 Doug was awarded one of mountaineering’s highest honours, the Piolet D’Or Lifetime Achievement Award.
Doug set up the charity Community Action Nepal (CAN) in 1997 to improve the standard of living in remote Himalayan communities and give something back to the mountain people who had helped him to achieve his mountaineering goals.
He and other mountaineers identified the need to improve the economic working practices of expedition porters, and this led them to realise that the communities they came from also faced major social problems – such as lack of health and education provision, and clean water – which needed to be tackled.
Over the years CAN has supported more than 50 schools, health posts, porter rescue shelters and other community development projects.
Sir Chris Bonington, who led the 1975 SW Face Everest expedition and is one of CAN’s patrons, has said of Doug that “his mountaineering achievements pale alongside his creation of Community Action Nepal and the schools, hostels, health clinics and porter rescue shelters it has built and sustained over 25 years for the people of the high Himalayas”.
In the earthquake that struck Nepal in 2015 the majority of communities CAN supported were devastated, but Doug went immediately into action. He was up at 3am every day liaising with CAN staff in Nepal, co-ordinating emergency relief and planning post-crisis recovery.
With CAN trustees, he spearheaded an earthquake fundraising campaign which raised £2.5 million to rebuild earthquake resistant schools and health posts in line with ‘Building Back Better’ principles.
For the last 25 years Doug’s passion for and commitment to the mountain people of Nepal has remained a constant.
At the point when Doug began to feel unwell in March this year his major concern was that CAN nurses and the communities they serve in North Gorkha had access to the medicines, equipment and PPE they would need in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He was also worried about possible food shortages. He was greatly relieved when the CAN team in Nepal reported that CAN staff had everything in place to help protect these remote mountain communities.
Doug continues to inspire and has participated in the CAN 2020 Everest Stair Challenge by putting on the iconic blue snow suit that he used on Everest 45 years ago and climbing his flight of stairs at home to raise funds for CAN.
This was a Herculean effort, described by Doug as “hellish”.
To learn more about CAN and to get involved in the 2020 Everest Stair Challenge visit www.canepal.org.uk