Joe Puryear killed in Tibet


Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
This thread has been locked
Messages 1 - 20 of total 94 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>

Mountain climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 27, 2010 - 01:24pm PT
Just received this from Mike Gauthier:
I received one of those dreaded phone calls early this morning with the news that my good friend Joe Puryear died while ascending Labuche Kang (7,367 meters, 24,170 feet) in a remote region of Tibet.

Joe was a former climbing ranger on Mount Rainier and one of Americaís elite alpinists. He joined the staff at Camp Schurman in 1996 with Mark Westman and Lara Bitenieks. They represented a new cadre of skilled climbers who together helped changed the way our climbing rangers did business and served the public for the National Park Service. For two years, Joe led the climbing rangers on the east side of Mount Rainier and participated in many difficult rescues. He was greatly respected for his climbing skills and ability manage complex situations both on the mountain and in the front country. Joeís talents led him to pursue a career in alpinism and along the way he authored books on climbing in the Alaska Range and in the desert SW of America. Most recently, he and David Gottlieb received prestigious climbing grants (Mugs Stump, Gore, and Lyman Spitzer) in order to ascend unclimbed peaks and frozen waterfalls in Nepal and Tibet.

I donít have a lot of information at this time, but the word is that Joe fell through a cornice. He was with David at the time, but David did not witness the event. He ascended the top the ridgeline after putting on his crampons only to find Joe's tracks leading to a broken ledge. Fearing the worst, he descended 1,500 feet to find Joe, who did not survive the fall, and shortly there after retrieved the sat phone enabling him to make a call to the US. David was alone at the time, but does have the help of one Sherpa at base camp. They are in a very remote region without rescue services and itís unclear what his next steps will be. For now, I am thinking about David as he descends the mountain back to base camp.

Once again, the Mount Rainier climbing community has been rocked with the lose of a wonderful friend and person. Joe was good friend with Lara, who died while climbing on Mount Wake in 2007 in the Alaska Range, and also with Charlie Borgh, who was swept to his death in an avalanche on Mount Delta Form in Alberta, Canada 2008.

Iíll send out more information about the accident, Davidís descent, and a memorial when possible. I have attached a picture of Joe as I remember him best, in the mountains and on top of his game.

Information about the expedition can be found at:

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Oct 27, 2010 - 01:26pm PT
Oh man

A long way from where I started
Oct 27, 2010 - 01:38pm PT
RIP Joe, and condolences to those who knew you.

Big Wall climber
So Cal
Oct 27, 2010 - 01:40pm PT
Another tragic loss for the tribe. My deepest condolences to his family & friends.

Oct 27, 2010 - 01:40pm PT
Sincere condolences to the family of Joe.

Joe was a part of the Topo family. His Alaska guide will continue to inspire and encourage safe climbing in the Alaska Range for years to come.

"See you in the mountains!"

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Oct 27, 2010 - 01:41pm PT
his previous handy work that I remembered seeing briefly...


istanbul/new york city
Oct 27, 2010 - 01:43pm PT
abso fcking lutely bawling.

Mountain climber
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 27, 2010 - 01:56pm PT
There is a mistake in the report that Mike corrected. It was in a remote region WITHOUT rescue services.

Oct 27, 2010 - 02:00pm PT

Joe was a great guy and will be dearly missed.

RIP Joe and condolences to his family.


Trad climber
fresno, ca
Oct 27, 2010 - 02:19pm PT
Oh man. How sad. I really liked his article on Nepal. He seemed like the real deal. An advocate for pure adventure. My condolences to his family and all of you who knew him.

Trad climber
fresno, ca
Oct 27, 2010 - 02:25pm PT
I found this on the web somewhere....It looks like Joe and Davids Blog leading up to and during the climb. Kinda hard to read knowing he's gone.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
Oct 27, 2010 - 02:29pm PT
very sad. Sometimes I hate opening up ST.

hanging from a crimp and crying for my mama.
Oct 27, 2010 - 02:30pm PT
My condolences.

Trad climber
Bay area
Oct 27, 2010 - 02:35pm PT
My heart goes out to everyone who knew him. I'm so sorry.

Sportbikeville & Yucca brevifolia
Oct 27, 2010 - 02:36pm PT
Condolences to Joe's family and friends.

Too young, too soon.
Alpine Raven

Eugene, Oregon
Oct 27, 2010 - 02:39pm PT
Very sad to read this. Always enjoyed reading his climbing stories in Alpinist about getting up the lesser known peaks but still having the full adventure. Big loss. Condolences to family and friends.


Soda Springs, CA
Oct 27, 2010 - 02:41pm PT
Really sad to hear this, only met him once at the trade show, when he sought me out for some info for his Alaska book, but he seemed like an awesome guy, so enthused for the mountains. I loved his incredible Desert Towers trip report. ...

A huge loss, condolences to his many loved ones.


Trad climber
Somewhere halfway over the rainbow
Oct 27, 2010 - 02:42pm PT
Another tragic loss. My heart goes out to friends and family.

Trad climber
Oct 27, 2010 - 02:44pm PT
Deep condolences to Joe's family and friends.

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Oct 27, 2010 - 02:50pm PT
AKTrad, so sorry to read this.

How do we meet our own end? We all know it's coming, but it's still really hard when it happens to someone close. It's easy to say that he died doing what he loved, and I might even wish it for myself. But it's safe to say that Joe would have wanted to come home from this trip, this time at least.

All of us will be thinking of you and Joe's other friends and family.

Rest In Peace

Messages 1 - 20 of total 94 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Our Guidebooks
spacerCheck 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks

guidebook icon
Try a free sample topo!

SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Route Beta