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.