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JOE BROWN


Master The


H


eroes, myths and legends form the epic stories of all sports. And in the strange and wonderful world of climbing, Joe Brown and his routes became all three, inexorably intertwined into our heritage and hearts. Hands up who’s stood below The Right


Unconquerable, nervously fiddling with a big cam and wondering just how it was first climbed 60 years ago by Joe. And who’s slipped around on the Vector slab or fought cramping legs on Cenotaph Corner? Joe took the British climbing world by storm after the Second World


War. From the late 40s this Manchester plumber (who wasn’t a plumber) wrenched British rock climbing standards to visionary, bold new levels. In 1955, he made the first ascent of Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world, and his fame grew to such an extent that the Post Office apparently delivered letters to him addressed only to “The Human Fly, UK”


Joe died in Llanberis on April 15, aged 89. As a tribute, journalist Ed Douglas remembers this titan of our vertical world. And on the following pages, we reprint a rare interview with Joe by Niall Grimes from 2014.


R Joe in Llanberis.


36 | CLIMB. WALK. JOIN.


PHOTO: RAY WOOD


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