Joe Brown

Joe Brown

Renowned rock-climber and mountaineer Joe Brown has died, aged 89.

Among Brown’s achievements in a long climbing career were the joint first ascent of the world’s third-highest mountain, Kanchenjunga, in 1955.

He also posted first ascents of several difficult rock routes in the Llanberis Pass.

He came to wider public attention with the televised ascent in 1967 of the Old Man of Hoy in Orkney with Ian McNaught-Davis and Chris Bonington.

He also pioneered rock-climbing safety equipment, creating nuts for use as protection. He went on to set up a chain of outdoor shops in Snowdonia, the Lake District and Buckinghamshire.

A spokesperson for Joe Brown Shops said on Thursday: “It is with profound sadness that we have to share with you the passing of Joe Brown. He left us peacefully at 10pm last night.

“He was at home with his family. We have been in contact with his wife Val this morning to pass on our love and condolences and will share more information in line with his family’s wishes.

“In our hearts, Joe will continue to climb ever more.”

Brown as born in Manchester in 1930 and began climbing as a youth. He began working life as an apprentice in the building trade and climbed with friends in his spare time. Among those joining him in setting new routes was fellow working-class climber Don Whillans, who grew up in Salford.

Joe Brown went on to post several notable routes in the European Alps, the Himalaya and Karakorum.

He was appointed an MBE and, in 2011, a CBE, for services to rock climbing and mountaineering.

His death prompted widespread tributes. On Twitter, Stephen Venables said: “Very sad to hear that Joe Brown died last night. What an amazing life. Kangchenjunga, Muztagh Tower, treasure hunting in the jungle … but for most of us his greatest gift is the legacy of peerless rock climbs: Vector, Vember, Right Unconquerable, Shrike, Cemetery Gates…”

Alan Hinkes added: “RIP Joe Brown, great rock-climber, mountaineer, fly fisherman, raconteur, lovely man. Hard as nails. Wicked sense of humour. Poss world’s greatest rock-climber & superb mountaineer. Thoughts with family & grandchildren.”

The Mountain Heritage Trust said: “We are deeply saddened to learn that Joe Brown has passed away. A legend and inspiration to so many, we are proud to have had him as a patron.”

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