Joe Brown awarded CBE

Posted by Tina Gardner on 04/01/2011
Joe Brown photo: Gordon Stainforth

Legendary Manchester climber Joe Brown has been made a CBE in the New Year Honours list.

Joe Brown, whose climbing career has spanned 60 years, has been recognised for his services to the sport.

Joe said receiving the award was like being recognised for "doing something he loved every day". He said: "Receiving the CBE is so strange, because it's like I'm being awarded for enjoying myself. I have never lacked enthusiasm, and I surprise even myself at how much I love my sport.  It's that spirit of adventure which has taken me all over the world."

Considered by many to be Britain's greatest all-round climber, Joe's accomplishments are many and varied. After World War II he led the surge in rock climbing standards, and with Don Whillans formed one of the strongest climbing partnerships of all time. The gritstone edges of the Peak District are home to numerous Brown testpieces, such as Stanage’s Right Unconquerable, Curbar’s Peapod and Great Slab on Froggatt.

In 1952 Joe made the first ascent of Cenotaph Corner in the Llanberis Pass, and followed this up with many significant first ascents on Cloggy and Gogarth. Further afield he contributed to a renaissance in British alpinism, and in 1955 became one of only two Britons to make the first ascent of an 8,000m peak, when he and George Band climbed Kanchenjunga, the world’s third highest mountain. A list of some of his most significant first ascents is available here.

Originally from Manchester, Joe has been climbing since he was 16. He is now 80 years old and has lived in Llanberis since 1966, when he opened a climbing shop in the village.

To listen to interviews with Joe recounting his life of climbing go to Phil Kelly's RockArchivist website.



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