Title: The Ogre
Author: Doug Scott
Publisher: Vertebrate Publishing
Genre: Non-fiction, Outdoors – mountaineering, Autobiography
Book format: Hardback
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Description: 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.

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review: 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.

he 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.

What do you think of this book?  Do you enjoy reading about climbing or do you enjoy climbing/mountaineering yourself?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂