When Dougal Haston and Don Whillans completed the first ascent of the south face of Annapurna in 1970, it signaled a paradigm shift in alpinism. Haston and Whillans’ climb, part of an expedition led by Sir Chris Bonington, signified the beginning of a shift in focus away from the most obvious weakness on an objective, and toward more difficult, never tested routes, more direct routes. Haston, who helped pioneer the Harlin-Direct route on the Eiger prior to this expedition, would go on to put first ascents up Everest and Denali. He became known as the Mick Jagger of the Mountains for a lifestyle that had him hanging out with A-list celebrities such as Clint Eastwood. His name as an alpinist, however, was solidified during this ascent of Annapurna, which turned tragic three days after their successful summit when team member Ian Clough was killed by a falling serac.

In this photo, Haston is standing in Base Camp with Mick Burke as the south face looms in the background. Read more about Haston in our Historical Badass column.

Photo by Sir Chris Bonington and courtesy of the Chris Bonington Picture Library




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Derek Taylor is the managing editor of adventure-journal.com. He lives in Huntsville, Utah.
Derek Taylor is the managing editor of adventure-journal.com. He lives in Huntsville, Utah.