I spent more time with Whillans, with whom I got along well,
but Joe Brown indeed is that quality of human being that is
only found in the rarest individual. He and Whillans were doing
hard free climbs in tennis shoes before anyone in this country,
and they'd put a few stones in their pocket, to wedge in a crack,
the way we wedge a nut now, and they'd drape the stone with a sling
or run the rope behind it... those rare times they did put in
protection... I was given a small "Joe Brown" bag when I visited
Llanberis, and it says on it, "Don't look down, contact Joe Brown."
Indeed. I still have that bag...
I was in contact with Joe Brown by mail from my home in Boise Idaho in the early 60s when I was still a teenager. He mailed me two sets of threaded machine nuts, and I gave one set to Royal when I got to Yosemite for the summer. We used them for the first time on the Chouinard-Herbert route on Sentinel and only used our pitons for belay anchors. Sacherer and I checked out the crossed-thumb technique on cracks around the Camp 4 boulders and started going up to the Iota and Reeds Pinnacle area trying to figure out how to climb cracks.