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Haston, Dougal

Category: Explorer or adventurer

Dougal Haston, (19 April 1940 – 17 January 1977), was a Scottish mountaineer born in Currie, on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

Early in his career he was to climb several new Scottish routes with Robin Smith. Climbs such as The Bat on the Carn Dearg Buttress of Ben Nevis was to help establish them as future pioneers.  Smith was to die in an accident in 1962 but Haston was to live on and realize their early promise.

In 1970, with Don Whillans, Haston was the first to climb the south face of Annapurna on an expedition led by Chris Bonington and in 1975, with Doug Scott, he was the first to climb Mount Everest by the south-west face, also on an expedition led by Bonington.

Haston made the first ascent of the Nordwand by the direttissima, or most direct route, in 1966 with Jorg Lehne, Gunther Strobel, Roland Votteler and Siegefried Hupfauer. In 1967 he became director of the International School of Mountaineering at Leysin in Switzerland, a position he maintained until his death in 1977.

It was at Leysin, in January 1977, whilst skiing alone on the north-east face of La Riondaz to the Col Luisset that he was killed by an avalanche. It appeared that he had been choked by his scarf. He is buried at Leysin.

 In winter, the mountains seem to regain their primitive, virginal pride, and no more do the howling, littering summer masses tramp their more accessible slopes." — Dougal Haston quoted in Jeff Connors' biography

 "...that most impenetrable of big walls, the mind of Dougal Haston." — from a review of Connors' biography.

References

Haston: A Life in the Mountains BBC2 2006
Haston, Dougal (1972). In High Places. London: Cassell
Haston, Dougal (1974). The Eiger. London: Cassell
Haston, Dougal (1979). Calculated Risk. London: Diadem Books.
Connor, Jeff (2002). Douglas Haston: The Philosophy of Risk. Edinburgh: Canongate Books.

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