Entity Type:
Haston, Duncan Curdy McSporran (1940-1977) known as Dougal
Haston, Duncan Curdy McSporran (1940-1977) known as Dougal
Laconic, charismatic Edinburgh hard-man Haston rose from humble baker’s son to become a mountaineer of world renown. He achieved his reputation via a series of spectacular climbing achievements such as his ascent of the very difficult Ben Nevis route The Bat with Robin Smith, but his breakthrough to world stardom was his winter ascent of the Eiger Direct as part of a televised outside broadcast in 1966 in which US climber John Harlin died. Haston succeeded Harlin as Director of the International School of Mountaineering in Leysin, Switzerland, and from then on Haston was a regular on the top expedition circuit of the day, taking part on Chris Bonington's expedition to Annapurna in 1970 and Everest in 1971, 1972 and, successfully in ‘75. He thereby become one of the first two British climbers (along with Doug Scott) to summit the highest peak in the world. It was a spectacular turnaround of fortunes for a man who only a year before being catapulted to the top had languished in prison as a result of a drink-driving accident that had resulted in a death. Amateur psychologists have speculated ever since that the guilt Haston felt as a result drove him to take the risks he did - including deliberately trying to out-ski an avalanche on the notorious slopes above Leysin– something the hero of his novel Calculated Risk succeeds in doing. Unfortunately, for Haston, the ending in reality was sadly different.
Biographical information is kindly supplied by Colin Wells.
2006-08-06 00:00:00
Maxine Willett
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