The Ogre by Doug Scott
Tomorrow The Ogre by Doug Scott is published. Here is a wee extract to whet your appetite:
On the fifth morning at Base Camp Nick suddenly arrived with a team of Balti porters and enough poplar wood poles to make a stretcher. As it was being constructed Nick produced, from his rucksack, more food and also some very strong painkillers. All the way down the mountain, to this point, I had no pain relief, in fact we had no first aid kit with us. I had hoped to find at Base Camp at least some relief for my aches and pains but Nick had left nothing of the kind behind; I had a go at him about that which was incredibly insensitive of me after he had just slogged all the way back up to help us.
By midday I was on the stretcher in the midst of the Balti porters carrying me down the steep, and sometimes difficult, moraine-covered Baintha Lukpar Glacier. The Balti were dressed, as always, in their homespun tunics and cotton pantaloons, wearing sawn-off wellingtons and rubber sandals. For the next three days I was surrounded by them as they carried me along so carefully, with Chris walking alongside still coughing and spitting up colourful mucus.
It was a remarkable journey on that home-made stretcher, made up of wooden poles, climbing ropes and sleeping mats. Never once did they look like dropping me and I seldom felt a jolt. It was interesting to lie on the stretcher, listening and waiting, as they made decisions as to which route to take, the pacing of the journey, the choice of camping site, and who would fetch wood, water and stone for their bivouac.