There is much in the media about the passing of Joe Brown. Joe was an incredible mountaineer. adventurer,fisherman and man of many talents. I was lucky to meet him on several occasions.
When I was in Wales at RAF Valley Mountain Rescue we bought lots from Joe’s Climbing shops in Capel Curig and Llanberris I also met Joe on a few routes. I met him and the late Mo Antonine on a route in the Devils Kitchen in winter. Myself and Jock Cameron were climbing some great routes it was around Christmas we had an early start and they were ahead in the Gully. It must have been about 1980. Looking back it was a great winter in Wales. My dog met us at the top of the route Joe was impressed. We met them again in the Black Ladders a few days later, they remembered the dog.
We wandered off together and I said I knew Hamish from Glencoe who was a long time pal of his. He was such a good guy and to speak and meet him was inspirational. He did so much for mountaineering yet was a superstar of his era and yet such a normal man. I asked him about a big rescue on Ben Nevis in 1954 when a climber fell of Tower Ridge on the traverse in winter. Don Willians and Joe were on the Ben at the time and recovered the climber after an epic. Joe abseiled down and freed the iced rope. I think it was on Echo Wall ? These were in the days of 120 foot ropes and simple gear it was a really brave attempt to save a life.
Sadly the climber was dead but the RAF Team from Kinloss the SMC and other climbers were involved in the recovery and the officer in charge I was told had no clue who Joe and Don were at the time. I think he offered them help. He laughed that I knew that tale.
There will be a lot of tales told about Joe his climbs his life by so many others. His book “The Hard years” is superb its a must read it’s still inspirational.
Joe Brown is one of the greatest names in British climbing. This book not only describes his many notable climbs, but reveals a most engaging personality with a highly interesting approach to his craft.
He was born in a Manchester slum, the youngest of seven children; his father died before he was a year old. The characteristics he showed as a child – a quite extraordinary self-reliance and an unexpected love of the countryside – are reflected throughout his life-story. THE HARD YEARS is also the story of Joe Brown’s climbs up some of the toughest mountains in the world.
From Scottish Mountain Rescue
Sad news in sad times, Joe Brown, died last night aged 89.
He was an amazing mountaineer and inspirational rock climber to all, with notable ascents in the Alps and greater ranges together with a list of new rock routes second to none.
Rest easy Joe and thank you for your legacy.
Our thoughts are with Joes family and friends.