Last week marked 45 years since the first British expedition reached the peak of the world’s tallest mountain.

Sir Chris Bonington, who lives near Caldbeck, led the team which scaled the notoriously difficult South West Face, with Doug Scott and Dougal Haston reaching the summit successfully on September 24, 1975.

Sir Chris’ journey began in 1951 when he started climbing in the Alps, making the first British ascent of the South West Pillar of the Drus in 1958 and that of the Brandler Hasse Route on the North Wall of the Cima Grande in the Dolomites in 1959.

A number of expeditions followed during the next 11 years.

After the success of Dougal Haston and Don Whillans reaching the summit of the South Face of Annapurna in May 1970 - a Himalayan wall on an 8,000 metre peak - Sir Chris then turned his attention to Everest.

Two years later he made his first attempt but was defeated by the savage winds and intense cold of the autumn and winter.

When the opportunity came for a further attempt on the South West Face of Everest he took a team out in the autumn of 1975.

Doug Scott and Dougal Haston reached the summit successfully on September 24, though tragedy struck on the second ascent by Peter Boardman and Pertemba Sherpa, when Mick Burke was lost.

With many climbers failing in their attempts to scale the 8,848 metre mountain, Sir Chris was far from sure his team would be successful.

“We’d had one attempt ourselves and we failed to get up it.

“We always knew the chances were no more than 50/50,” Sir Chris told the News & Star.

“We couldn’t be sure until the success of Don and Dougal.”

Sir Chris explained the moment he knew they had reached the top.

“I was at Advanced Base Camp and I had a radio call to say they’d done it.

“We had a strong team and there was an amazing appreciation on their hard final push to the summit.

“We felt excited but then also thought about the fact they had to get down.”

He explained how there was a huge feeling of relief and excitement when the pair returned from the summit.

Members of the team who completed the historic climb founded the charity Community Action Nepal, which supports the mountain communities of the Himalayas.

To raise money for the charity, and to mark the anniversary of the 1975 climb, founder, Doug Scott, Patron, Sir Chris and Trustee, Paul ‘Tut’ Braithwaite set people the challenge of climbing Everest from the comfort of their own homes. Go to