Joe Brown


Quick Info

Nationality: GB
Date of birth: 26 September 1930
Date of death: 15 April 2020
Notable Partnerships
Don Whillans

Born in 1930, Joe Brown was one of the pivotal figures in post-war climbing in the UK. In the 1950s and 60s, and alongside contemporaries such as Don Whillans, he pushed the standard of rock climbing in the UK to new levels with the first ascents of classic routes such as Cemetry Gates (E1), Great Slab (E3) and Right Eliminate (E3). Joe's routes frequently ventured in to territory that was previously considered off limits, often tackling bold and uncompromising features with minimal protection.

It is sometimes suggested that he was one of the inventors of jamming. Though this seems unlikely, though it is certainly true that he employed the technique to great effect on many of his new routes.

Jim Perrin:

With all the other greats of my time, I could understand how they climbed: fitness, physique, supple gymnasticism or sheer application. With Brown, there was something else at work. He was quite short, not heavily built, his muscles corded rather than developed, his movement smooth and deliberate. When I climbed with him, sometimes I would watch the way he made a move, copy it when I came to that point, and his way, that he had seen instantly, would be the least obvious and most immediately right. He was climbing's supreme craftsman, unerringly aware of the medium. [3]

References

[1] An extended biography written by Ollie Burrows is available here https://www.theclimbersshopjoebrownblog.co.uk/blog/joe-brown-biography including a list of many of Joe's first ascents.

[2] Interview with the BMC

[3] Obituary on UKClimbing written by Jim Perrin.

Quick Info

Nationality: GB
Date of birth: 26 September 1930
Date of death: 15 April 2020
Hardest Trad (Worked): E2
Hardest Trad (Onsight): E5
Notable Partnerships
Don Whillans

Born in 1930, Joe Brown was one of the pivotal figures in post-war climbing in the UK. In the 1950s and 60s, and alongside contemporaries such as Don Whillans, he pushed the standard of rock climbing in the UK to new levels with the first ascents of classic routes such as Cemetry Gates (E1), Great Slab (E3) and Right Eliminate (E3). Joe's routes frequently ventured in to territory that was previously considered off limits, often tackling bold and uncompromising features with minimal protection.

It is sometimes suggested that he was one of the inventors of jamming. Though this seems unlikely, though it is certainly true that he employed the technique to great effect on many of his new routes.

Jim Perrin:

With all the other greats of my time, I could understand how they climbed: fitness, physique, supple gymnasticism or sheer application. With Brown, there was something else at work. He was quite short, not heavily built, his muscles corded rather than developed, his movement smooth and deliberate. When I climbed with him, sometimes I would watch the way he made a move, copy it when I came to that point, and his way, that he had seen instantly, would be the least obvious and most immediately right. He was climbing's supreme craftsman, unerringly aware of the medium. [3]

References

[1] An extended biography written by Ollie Burrows is available here https://www.theclimbersshopjoebrownblog.co.uk/blog/joe-brown-biography including a list of many of Joe's first ascents.

[2] Interview with the BMC

[3] Obituary on UKClimbing written by Jim Perrin.


Pics + Vids

Joe Brown
Added at 07:08 on 08 August 2021
© Ken Wilson
Joe Brown
Added at 07:08 on 08 August 2021
© Nat Allen
Joe Brown
Added at 16:01 on 19 January 2021

Ascents

28 recorded ascents.

Year Climb Grade FA Ascent Date
1948 Brown's Eliminate E2 (Lead Onsight) 01 Jan 1948 (approx)
Three Pebble Slab HVS (Lead Onsight) 01 Jan 1948 (approx)
Sunset Slab VS (Lead Onsight) 01 Jan 1948 (approx)
Angular Crack VS (Lead Onsight) 01 Jan 1948 (approx)
1949 Chequers Climb VS (Lead Onsight) 01 Jan 1949 (approx)
Valkyrie HVS (Lead Onsight) 01 Jan 1949 (approx)
1950
1951 Peapod HVS (Lead Onsight) 01 Jan 1951 (approx)
Great Slab E3 (Lead Onsight) 01 Jan 1951 (approx)
The Great Crack E3 (Lead Onsight) 01 Jan 1951 (approx)
Left Eliminate E1 (Lead Onsight) 01 Jan 1951 (approx)
Hangover E1 (Lead Onsight) 18 May 1951
Cemetry Gates E1 (Lead Onsight) 30 Sep 1951
Vember E1 (Alternate Leads Onsight) 13 Oct 1951
1952 The Black Cleft E2 (Alternate Leads Onsight) 04 May 1952
Cenotaph Corner E1 (Lead Onsight) 24 Aug 1952
1953 Surplomb E2 (Alternate Leads Onsight) 01 Mar 1953
1954 The Dangler E2 (Lead) 01 Jan 1954 (approx)
1955 Woubits E2 (Lead Onsight) 30 Aug 1955
1956 Taurus E4 (Lead Onsight) 24 Jun 1956

Joe's last new route with Don Whillans.

1957 The Mostest E2 (Lead Onsight) 09 Apr 1957
November E3 (Lead Onsight) 03 May 1957
1958
1959
1960 Vector E2 (Lead Onsight) 26 Mar 1960
1961
1962 Trango E5 (Lead Onsight) 28 Apr 1962
1963
1964
1965
1966 Wen HVS (Alternate Leads Onsight) 08 May 1966
Winking Crack E3 (Lead Onsight) 05 Jun 1966
Dinosaur E5 (Lead Onsight) 19 Jun 1966

With aid?

Mousetrap E2 (Lead Onsight) 09 Oct 1966
1967
1968
1969
1970
1971
1972
1973
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978 The Flytrap E2 (Alternate Leads Onsight) 16 Apr 1978
Climb Grade FA Ascent Date
Climb Grade FA Ascent Date
Climb Grade FA Ascent Date
Trango E5 (Lead Onsight) 28 Apr 1962
Dinosaur E5 (Lead Onsight) 19 Jun 1966

With aid?

Taurus E4 (Lead Onsight) 24 Jun 1956

Joe's last new route with Don Whillans.

The Great Crack E3 (Lead Onsight) 01 Jan 1951 (approx)
Great Slab E3 (Lead Onsight) 01 Jan 1951 (approx)
November E3 (Lead Onsight) 03 May 1957
Winking Crack E3 (Lead Onsight) 05 Jun 1966
Brown's Eliminate E2 (Lead Onsight) 01 Jan 1948 (approx)
The Black Cleft E2 (Alternate Leads Onsight) 04 May 1952
Surplomb E2 (Alternate Leads Onsight) 01 Mar 1953
The Dangler E2 (Lead) 01 Jan 1954 (approx)
Woubits E2 (Lead Onsight) 30 Aug 1955
The Mostest E2 (Lead Onsight) 09 Apr 1957
Vector E2 (Lead Onsight) 26 Mar 1960
Mousetrap E2 (Lead Onsight) 09 Oct 1966
The Flytrap E2 (Alternate Leads Onsight) 16 Apr 1978
Left Eliminate E1 (Lead Onsight) 01 Jan 1951 (approx)
Hangover E1 (Lead Onsight) 18 May 1951
Cemetry Gates E1 (Lead Onsight) 30 Sep 1951
Vember E1 (Alternate Leads Onsight) 13 Oct 1951
Cenotaph Corner E1 (Lead Onsight) 24 Aug 1952
Three Pebble Slab HVS (Lead Onsight) 01 Jan 1948 (approx)
Valkyrie HVS (Lead Onsight) 01 Jan 1949 (approx)
Peapod HVS (Lead Onsight) 01 Jan 1951 (approx)
Wen HVS (Alternate Leads Onsight) 08 May 1966
Sunset Slab VS (Lead Onsight) 01 Jan 1948 (approx)
Angular Crack VS (Lead Onsight) 01 Jan 1948 (approx)
Chequers Climb VS (Lead Onsight) 01 Jan 1949 (approx)
Climb Grade FA Ascent Date