Pardoes Yossi Brain Page Edition of 5. July 2018
New photos of Yossi from Will Fox in the USA

A man and his mountain: Yossi Brain, Cotopaxi Summit Cone, 9. January 1998

Yossi Brain, our charming and professional guide in Ecuador and on Cotopaxi, died in an avalanche while climbing Cerro Presidente in the Cordillera Apolobamba, Bolivia on 25. September 1999, aged 32. Our sympathy goes to his family in England. Please e-mail if you knew Yossi, and either have or would like more details.

We are still getting e-mails about Yossi from people who have found our web pages, and the sentiment has always been the same : great guy, truly exceptional, and sadly missed; but died doing what he loved.

There are some photos from his Memorial Celebration in Walsall on 13. November here, and photos kindly sent by Eric Lawrie, below. Eric's own web site is now on-line at

Alison Markwick has sent some further photos of Yossi, taken at a recent wedding in Bolivia.

Update 5. July 2018 - a newly-received photo from Alison Fearn showing Yossi Brain (back row, fourth from right) at Park Hall Infants and Junior School in 1979.

Alison writes :
"Hello, I used to go to Park Hall Infants and Junior School with Yossi Brain. I enclose the 1979 photo, you'll easily spot Yossi in the back row and I am Alison Fearn in the yellow jumper in the second row. I have extremely fond memories of him and was shocked to hear of his death. I am not at all surprised that such a colourful, unique individual went on to live such a free spirited life.
I have thought of him many times over the years but only just thought to try googling his name (Yossi would tell you we were not from the computer generation) I can not believe he has been dead so long, didn't even see The Millenium. We used to say how we couldn't believe we would be alive in 2000 and we would be 32!!!
My last memory is from when we were 17 and I meet him on The Birmingham road and we walked a little way together. He walked off down Jesson Road and I carried on to The Watering Trough pub. I was careful to take a mental image as I thought it might be the last time I saw him, as we were off to university. He wore a black leather jacket and harlequin purple and white pants, the pattern of which I could probably draw even now. Striking similarity to Andy MacNae's mental image 17 years later in Mungo's bar in La Paz, written in his obituary in AAJ. Probably the same leather jacket.
Perhaps you can add another memory to the website that has just popped in my head. I was going to ask you what drives you to climb mountains so I can understand Yossi better. I live now near Dartmoor and walk my 2 dogs there a lot, so I understand the desire for wilderness and the fabulous scenery but it suddenly came to me. Every day we always all attended morning assembly and sat crosslegged on the floor (I Can't do that now!). Our headmistress Mrs Powell's (far right grey hair in photo) favourite inspirational saying was "What makes mountaineers want to climb mountains when it's so dangerous? Because it's there".

You can read Andy McNae's obituary in the AAJ at

These are some photographs we took on that trip over Christmas 1997/98. Yossi was our leader on the treks, and personally guided us in a successful ascent of Cotopaxi (5,897m). Friends of Yossi are most welcome to download copies for their own use.

Yossi Brain with Lucio, Sincholagua behind

A break on trek, Yossi at right

A side trip near Otovalo: Lloyd, Steve C, Paul, Steve P, Yossi

Judy, Yossi and a porter near Chimborazo

Tent life on the Paramo: Judy, Paul, Gwen, John and Yossi

Yossi fitting crampons, Cotopaxi

Yossi leading Judy and Steve along the crevasse, Cotopaxi
Photo © Ken Wade; our thanks to him, and to David S. Panofsky for sending it to us from Wisconsin, USA

Yossi crossing the crevasse by a metal bridge, Cotopaxi

Yossi and Judy, Cotopaxi Summit

Sue and Steve Carr with Oswaldo, Cotopaxi Summit

Judy and Yossi, Cotopaxi Summit

The ever-attentive Guide and his client: Yossi and Judy, descending Cotopaxi

New: These are some photos just received from Eric Lawrie, the Director of The British Council in La Paz, Bolivia. They show the scenery on El Presidente, on which Yossi and Dana Witzel, a Canadian climber, lost their lives

Clouds around Apolobamba

El Presidente (the tiny white mountain in the background)

Eric Lawrie writes: "The last photo of Yossi (at a food stop during the drive in to the Apolobamba on 24 September). The person in green is Dakin Cook, who survived the avalanche. The girl is Dana Witzel. Not a good shot, I'm afraid, but it was the last one taken of Yossi alive".

Sajama, 6,549 metres, the highest mountain in Bolivia and one which Yossi guided frequently.

The avalanche site

Many thanks to Eric Lawrie for scanning and sending these, and for his kind permission to publish them here.

New photos of Yossi from Will Fox in the USA, sent to us in January 2012. He writes:
"These are shots [scanned from slides] of Yossi, Karl Wolf and I on a trip of Ancohuma [in 2006]. It was a big 6 day expedition. None of us, including Yossi, had climbed the mountain. We made a dumb mistake and decided to descend a different route than we went up and it turned out to be far harder than we expected, and much harder than the way up. Our route map consisted of some ancient photo that Yossi had, and looking at the picture, it seemed that the descent route would be easier than the way up -- not true. Yossi was doing a range of climbs to have information for his guide book.

"Being the hardened mountaineer, Yossi actually slept out on the ice the night before the final ascent while Karl and I were in the tent. The picture "above the clouds" shows our high camp on Ancohuma. The man with the mask is Yossi on the summit."

There are some photos from his Memorial Celebration in Walsall on 13. November here.

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