Born in Edinburgh in 1882, Graham Brown first pursued a career in the sciences as a physiologist. His mountaineering career began after WW1 when he progressed to climbs in the Alps and a fateful introduction to Frank Smythe in 1927. They made the ground-breaking first ascents of the Sentinelle Rouge and the Route Major on the Brenva Face of Mont Blanc.
This resulted in an obsession with the mountain and a feud between the pair that smouldered and flared for 20 years. Ambitious, determined and uncompromising in his views, Brown never left others feeling neutral: Geoffrey Winthrop Young thought him "a vicious lunatic". Brown's life was one of turbulence in his career, relationships and in the mountains, whether on expeditions to Mount Foraker, Nanda Devi and Masherbrum, or most frequently, the Alps.
AC member Peter Foster is the author of The Uncrowned King of Mont Blanc, a biography that charts Graham Brown’s scientific and climbing careers and explores the imbalance between the significance of his achievements and the lack of recognition he received.