One of climbing's most famous survival sagas began on the night of July 13, 1977, after British mountaineers CHRISTIAN BONINGTON and Doug Scott completed the first ascent of Pakistan's 23,900-foot Baintha Brakka beastly massif known as The Ogre. During his rappel down, Scott swung wildly across the face and broke both legs. Bonington later fractured several ribs, and when the climbers stumbled back to base camp, with Scott crawling the entire way, they found that their support team had left. Their rescue took ten days, and 24 years and 25 failed attempts passed before anyone summited The Ogre again. Bonington, now 68, still leads alpine expeditions.
In an interview this past summer with Outside's Tim Neville, Bonington recounted the glorious moments on the peak before Scott's accident, the agonizing, handicapped descent, and the wrenching days in waiting for rescuers atop the roof of his porter's homeconfessing that, beneath the suffering, there's a strange exhilaration to surviving the painful and difficult.