In the spring of 1956, the Manchester climbing star Joe Brown had just put his feet up after a taxing weekend in north Wales, when there was a knock at the door. Waiting on the step was a bearish man with a curly mop of hair and thick glasses. Without preamble, he introduced himself as Ian McNaught-Davis and explained that he was leaving in a fortnight with a friend for the Karakoram to climb a mountain called Muztagh Tower. Would Joe like to join him?
The idea was preposterous on many levels. If any mountain encapsulates the notion of inaccessibility it is Muztagh Tower, a tapering fortress of rock and ice reaching 7,276m on the border between Pakistan and China. Equipping and supplying such a logistically awkward expedition