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Joseph Puryear on the summit of Lara Shan - Qionglai Mountains, China
Photo by Chad Kellogg
Joe Puryear climbing the West Ridge of Kang Nachugo, Himalaya
Photo by David Gottlieb
The stunning Kang Nachugo (6735 meters) Rolwaling, Himalaya.
Photo by Joseph Puryear
David Gottlieb and Joseph Puryear on the summit of Jobo Rinjang in April 2009.
Photo by Joseph Puryear & David Gottlieb

Joseph Puryear dies in Tibet

28.10.2010 by Planetmountain

American alpinist Joseph Puryear has died in Tibet while attempting Labuche Kang (7367m) together with David Gottlieb.

Details are, as usual, few and far between but news seems certain:Joseph Puryear, one of America's most talented mountaineers, has died in Tibet while climbing in the unexplored Labuche Kang massif (also known as Lapche Kang, Lobuche Kang, Choksiam) in Tibet.

Puryear was reportedly attempting to climb the massif's highest peak, Labuche Kang (7367m) together with habitual climbing partner David Gottlieb and the two had established Base Camp at 5300m on 21 September. After acclimatising with some breathtakingly beautiful exploratory missions on surrounding 6000m peaks, the two subsequently endured stormy weather and high winds which delayed their start. Precise details about the accident are unknown but it is believed that Puryear, unroped, climbed towards a ridge which subsequently gave way. Gottlieb followed the tracks which led to a broken ledge and discovered the body 1500 feet below.

Puryear lived in Leavenworth in the state of Washington and first started climbing in the Cascade Mountain range. During his extraordinary career he climbed in virtually all the world's major mountain ranges, from the Andes and Patagonia via the Alps and the Himalaya. The 37-year-old was considered an expert of the Alaskan peaks where he had carried out numerous first ascents and where he worked as a climbing ranger on Mont Rainier together with David Gottlieb. Furthermore, he had contributed in provinding information about these mountains by writing the guidebook "Alaska climbing".

Puryear and Gottlieb had formed a formidable partnership. They had climbed in the Greater Ranges on numerous occasions, alone and in pure alpine-style in some of the remotest regions on the planet. In the last three years alone Puryear and Gottlieb had carried out remarkable first ascents of Nepal's Kang Nachugo (6735 meters), Jobo Rinjang (6,778 meters) and Takargo (6771 meters) and their latest expedition was a continuation of this exploration of the Nepal-Tibet region on remote peaks which also involved extensive off-trail and glaciated terrain.

When asked where his climbing heart lay, Puryear replied "It’s hard not to say my own home mountains the Cascades, but really my heart lies in all alpine travel and exploration off the beaten path and away from civilization." Joseph Puryear was married to Michelle and to her and to the entire family the entire mountaineering community extends a heartfelt embrace.

JOSEPH PURYEAR SELECTED CV
Alaska Range:
Ascents of over 30 peaks in the Alaska Range including multiple ascents of Denali, Foraker, and Hunter
Kichatna Spire, The Black Crystal Arête, first ascent (7/2005), VI 5.10 A2
Mt. Barrill, Cobra Pillar, first one day/speed ascent, 15h 10m, (6/2004), VI 5.11 A2
The Stump, Goldfinger, first ascent (6/2004), IV 5.11
Mount Foraker, The Infinite Spur, ascent (6/2001), AK 6, 5.9 M5
Denali, Cassin Ridge, ascent (6/2000), AK 5 5.8 AI 4
Mt. Huntington, Harvard Route, w/first ascent variation (5/2000), VI 5.9 A2 AI4
Mt. Silverthrone, West Face, first ascent (4/1997), IV AI4

Asia:
First ascents of 7 unclimbed mountains in the Asian great ranges, from technical rock peaks to Himalayan giants.

China/Tibet:
Peak 5,965 meters, Inglis-Puryear Route, Shiluli Shan Mountains, first peak ascent, (10/2007), V 5.7 65°
Lara Shan (5,700 m), American Standard, Qionglai Mountains, first peak ascent (4/2007), IV 70°
Mt. Daogou (5,465 m), Salvage Op., Qionglai Mountains, first peak ascent (10/2005), V 5.10d
The Angry Wife (5,020 m), Raindog Arête, Qionglai Mountains, first peak ascent, (10/2005), IV 5.10c

Nepal:
Jobo Rinjang (6,778m), South Face, Khumbu Himal, first peak ascent, (4/2009), 75°
Kang Nachugo (6,735m), South Face to West Ridge, Rolwaling Himal, first peak ascent, (10/2008), 90o
Takargo (6,771m), East Face, Rolwaling Himal, first peak ascent, (3/12/2010), 85°
First ascents of 12 waterfall ice routes in the Rolwaling Himal

Cascade Mountains:
Ascents of 130+ technical alpine routes
First ascents of 20+ rock routes up to grade IV
Over 80 ascents of Mt. Rainier by 13 routes

Yosemite, Zion, and Southwest U.S.:
Ascents of 20+ bigwalls and 65+ desert towers
Angels Landing, Prodigal Sun, solo speed record, 7h 15m (4/2003)
Moonlight Buttress, solo speed ascent, 6h 32m (4/2003)
3 walls in a day: Space Shot, Moonlight Buttress, and Prodigal Sun, speed record, 15h 30m, (5/2002)
The Titan, Finger of Fate, solo speed ascent, onsight, 8h 53m (4/2008)

Other mountain areas climbed in:
U.S. and Canada - numerous ascents throughout the Western U.S. and Canada of rock, ice, and alpine routes.
Mexico - ascents of Orizaba and Iztaccíhuatl
Africa - ascent of Kilimanjaro
Switzerland Alps - numerous ascents of many alpine classics
South America - ascents of Aconcagua, Alpamayo, Artesonraju, Huascuran, Tocllaraju, and others

For the complete CV check out: www.joepuryear.blogspot.com

JOE PURYEAR ASSISTANCE FUND
A fund has been established for the repatriation costs of Joseph Puryear. Those wishing to help the family with the costs are kindly asked to follow this link

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