His first climbing gear was a stolen piece of rope from roadside work. He was wondering with his mates as usual in outskirts of the City when he was 16 . Suddenly he felt water sprinkles on his face and cold smell in his nostrils. He rushed towards indicating directions. It was Kinder Downfall. Like a reflex action he started climbing the waterfall’s slippery rocks into the gushing icy water with a rope. On surmounting the source, In his biography, he attributed this moment as he was not the same as a moment before. His soul grasped the realization of his motive of life. This first time elevation remained with him in each climbing, summit and ascent. . His swift climb shows how justified his latter aliases were, like Human Fly and The Master in the World of Rock Climbing.
He was born in Manchester on 26th of September 1930. He was the last one among seven siblings. His father died on ship in line of his duty when he was of 8 months. His mother did household chores in others houses to earn bread and butter for poor family. His house was demolished in airs trick by Germans during World War II; this was the situation he grew in. His nothingness made him a wanderer and later on the greatest British rock climber of the century.
Joe told us in his Biography THE HARD YEARS that this fatherless and empty handed life was in fact the best life for him. He had no belongings, no responsibilities and no burdens, a perfect life for perusing his zeal of rock climbing. He was the first post War climber from working class background otherwise this forte was fixed for middle class and upper class.
He left school in 14 as there was no charm for him and started his apprenticeship with a builder. He did plumbing as well. By age of 16 he did his first ascent. In 1940s he stamped hardest rocks of U.K by his foot. He met his twin climbing partner Don Whillans in 1951 in Peak District. In 1951 and 1952 he done his attributed greatest routes Cemetery Gates” and Cenotaph Corner (5.10+) respectively. In 1955 he and George Band summited the 3rd largest mountain of the World Kanchenjunga (8,586m). They were the first who conquered it. In 1956 he stepped on Muztagh Tower (7,276m) in Pakistani side Karakorum Range. He did Trango Tower in 1976 which is 6,236m high.
He was the first who climbed at Gogarth in 1966. It is a colossal sea cliff on the shores of Anglesey Island in North Wales. Actually it was a venture of BBC. BBC filmed two day climbing of a sandstone pillar situated in the Orkney Islands with Joe in adjoining year again. The name of that pillar was The Old Man of Hoy which is 450 foot. Joe did Gogarth with BBC again in 1970 on immense arch route of Spiders Web. He did stunt man in many a movies. He assisted Robert De Nairo in his film Mission as a stunt man.
When there was no high tech equipment to read the nerves of rocks, he just made his scaling strategies by seeing only an ordinary photo of that rock. He visualize the Venue and plane throughout days climbing routes and strategies and to the wonder, he succeeds all. He used to call this practice a magic. His sense of humor was epic. The names he allocate to each of his founded routes shows how witty he was, like Sassenach, Fissure Brown, Mouse trap, Valkyrie, Masochism, Right unconquerable, Cemetery Gates, Elder Crack, Great Slab and many more. He found around 24 new routes in the one decade, from 1950s to 1960s. In rest of his Career this number may mount around 400 to 500.
In pursuance of his passion he broke his leg three times but resumed climbing on recovery. His first summit to Alps cost him his job and all the savings. The Expedition to Everest demanded some money for including him in summit team but he had no penny. He started his climbing equipment shop and invented many of amazing ascent gears. His 1 shop extended to 3 shops including online availability. The news of his death was tweeted by Joe Brown Shop on 15th of April 2020. On receiving several awards he said it’s like receiving Award for doing what you love. He was the end of a magnificent era of rock climbing. Tom Patey, one of the great Scottish Climber has written some verses which truly tribute Joe in their essence, he says;
“We’ve sung it once,
We’ll sing it twice,
He’s the hardest man in the Rock and Ice,
He’s marvelous-he’s fabulous,
He’s a wonder man is Joe.”