1965’s Scottish Climbing School Glencoe . Some names here . Dougal Haston, John Harlin, Tom Patey. Ely Moriarty, John Cunningham Rusty Ballie .

Could you imagine being taught by these climbers in 1965 ? Think of all the news routes they would have climbed. They were the some of the cream of Scottish climbing of that era . I wonder if anyone remembers climbing with them. Hamish told me some great stories of the early days of the Glencoe climbing school and the fun they had. I wonder if anyone went on a course run by them it would be great to hear from them?

Dougal Haston was one of the top local climbers of that era. He climbed with Robin Smith in Scotland and on the Eiger North Face in winter. He later went on to summit Everest , Annapurna and do many incredible routes in the Alps and overseas. Dougal died in an avalanche in The Alps.


The untimely death of Dougal Haston in 1977 robbed climbing of one of its most charismatic, controversial and enigmatic figures. A man of extremes, who managed to combine a rock star’s lifestyle with a career at the cutting edge of world mountaineering, Haston remains a cult figure whose deeds have inspired generations of climbers world-wide.

Jim Moriarity a local Scottish climber member of the Creag Du. Jim Moriarty, who died in 2005, went on to tackle climbs such as the Cassin route on the North Face of the Cima Ovest. He was one of Dougal Haston’ s early pals climbing on their local Currie Wa’s

John Harlin an American was another of that era sadly killed on the Eiger Direct when his rope broke. He was the man behind the idea the Eiger Direct in Winter an incredible climb of that era.

John Cunningham another wonderful climber from Glasgow. Bold rock climber and pushed ice climbing to new levels pushing front pointing. Worked at Glenmore Lodge. Killed on a Sea cliff in Anglesey when a student fell in. He tried to save him. When John Cunningham was swept to his death off storm-tossed Anglesey in 1980, British climbing lost one of its greatest exponents and most forceful, yet enigmatic personalities. Born in an elemental part of Glasgow in 1927, Cunningham’s life was shaped by his background in an East End tenement, a working life in Glasgow shipyards and an eventual escape to the crags and ice gullies of Scotland, the wastes of Antarctica and the peaks of the Himalayas and the Western Alps. Drawing on interviews with his contemporaries, friends in the legendary Creagh Dhu Mountaineering Club and his family, and containing previously unpublished photographs of first ascents, Creagh Dhu Climber is the story of a man whose personality and achievements continue to inspire but which have, until now, remained untold. Above all this book is a record of a way – and philosophy – of life that no longer exists.

Tom Patey a wonderful pioneer of Scottish climbing a legend in his era. A doctor who lived in Ullapool and was a huge explorer of new routes. Killed on a sea stack The Maidens up in the North Of Scotland. Tom Patey, one of Scotland’s best-known climbers, was killed on May 25th 1970 while abseiling from a sea-stack off the northern Scottish coast.

Rusty Ballie a South African climber climbed many routes including the Old Man Of Hoy. I met him in Canada where he emigrated to in the early 80’s. He was very good to us when we met him.

Comments as always welcome and if you met climbed with these folk and have any stories?

Comment – Smudge Ardgour :

…no need for CV’s on this one”

“I’m going to phone the Operator immediately!
Edinburgh 1098”

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Books, History, Ice climbing Canada, Mountaineering, People, Recomended books and Guides, Scottish winter climbing., Views Mountaineering, Well being. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 1965’s Scottish Climbing School Glencoe . Some names here . Dougal Haston, John Harlin, Tom Patey. Ely Moriarty, John Cunningham Rusty Ballie .

  1. John Bainbridge says:

    Such an inspiring generation of climbers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. John Griffiths says:

    Sadly I was involved in the search for John Cunningham. The Stacks there often caused problems.


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