Joe Puryear killed in Tibet


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Mar 4, 2011 - 10:01am PT
Two weeks ago in Kathmandu I bought a local beer at the corner shop in Lazimpat. The young man who owned the "mini 7 Eleven" (about the size of a closet) had a great command of the English language. We spoke about the Bryan Adams concert the following evening and how the $100 tickets were twice the average monthly Nepali wage. I asked him how the government is faring and how tourism, the big driver of the economy is doing. Things are looking up. Lots of Chinese and south Asia tourists, yet fewer Westies.

The gift shop next door was owner by Amrit Satyal and his brothers. He invited me in. Not really in the market for thankas (Tibetan paintings) or other fine curios from Nepal, we sat at the table and talked about the world. Conversation is a gift and a my favorite evening entertainment.

On the table was a copy of Joe's Alaska guide. All of a sudden the room was quite and a chill went up my spine. I looked at the book and it was inscribed to Amrit and his brothers.

Ends up Joe shopped at the store and Amrit helped Joe organize his climbs. We spoke of Joe's death and he shared with me the end of the tale in Kathmandu.

Dave transported his body back to Kathmandu. Which from the physical aspect is daunting. The China border at Kodari must have been a test of patience. Joe's parents flew out from California and the Stayal family was very helpful. They had dinner with the family.

The Stayal family organized the cremation of Joe's body at Pashipatinath, the traditional pyre for the Hindus. I imagine it was a pretty heavy scene.

While teaching Sherpa vo-tec this winter several climbers who had been with Joe expressed how much they liked Joe and what a fine person he was.

Thought Joe's close friends and family might find solace in this small story.


Big Wall climber
Mar 4, 2011 - 12:16pm PT
thank's Conrad! such an international connection.
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Mar 4, 2011 - 12:21pm PT
Amazing, Conrad.

I've seen a cremation at Pashipatinath, and, you're right, its a heavy scene.

Great story, great connection.


-Brian in SLC
(hope my friend Steve is well...did you see him?)

Trad climber
New York, NY
Mar 4, 2011 - 12:28pm PT
Condolences to family and friends at this time. He surely sounds like one of those whose spirit carries others along and inspires them.

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Mar 4, 2011 - 01:20pm PT
The Rolwaling Sherpa were indeed impressed by Joe's climbs in their Valley and I still look at the beautiful photos he took there. His legacy lives on.

Bend Oregon
Apr 6, 2011 - 05:49pm PT
Joe is my brother-in-law and he is missed! What a nice message! Glad you had the opportunity to share stories with Joe's friends in Kathmandu.

Here is a link to Joe's blog - Michelle describes what an amazing outpouring of love while she and Joe's parents were in Kathmandu.

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Apr 6, 2011 - 07:35pm PT
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. - John 14:1-2.

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. - 1 John 3:2

May God be with you Joe

Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 7, 2011 - 04:04pm PT
Wishing Joe the greatest adventure of All on this new journey

and sending condolence and love to all those who will miss his presence in their lives



Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Oct 26, 2011 - 10:38pm PT
Joe Puryear scholarship is born 

Sherpa Adventure Gear, based in Kathmandu, has launched a grant honoring American climber Joe Puryear, perished one year agor while opening a new route on Labuche Kang, in Tibet. 

A 7 years old Sherpani was chosen among a pool of 30 kids from Namche Bazaar for full primary and secondary education granted by the scholarship.

This is a milestone for both Joe and the Sherpas!

Trad climber
Oct 26, 2011 - 10:39pm PT
thanks jan.

Ice climber
Feb 11, 2015 - 11:55pm PT
Gottlieb and Puryear were present on Rainier when a good bro of ours died from an asthma attack at Emmons Flats near Camp Shurman. Puryear entertained me and a friend inside the ranger hut with a can of Guinness and a bottle of wine from the rangers stash. That was their first tragedy for the rookie group of rangers in 1996.

Puryear was a badass nice guy. Crazy Joe, you are missed. Thanks for all your help. May the Lord be with you all who are survived.

Sicerely, Kevin

Social climber
Feb 12, 2015 - 05:42am PT
hey there say, i just saw this up, now... i enjoyed seeing what conrad just shared... thank you very much...

wow, for sure, his family would be very grateful to learn of this
special part of his life, there...

Boulder climber
Jan 5, 2019 - 12:51am PT

Social climber
Jan 5, 2019 - 01:04am PT
hey there say, T H .... say, these are lovely...

very very nice photos and trips to remember, from this climber/friend,
of the climbers, here...

thank you for sharing all this...
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