37-year old Joe Puryear, one of the top alpine climbers in the U.S., perished while climbing in Tibet this week. The former Mt. Rainier guide was attempting to scale the 7367 meter (24,170 ft) Labuche Kang, located in the southern region of Chinese controlled Tibet, when the cornice he was scaling collapsed, sending him falling 1500 feet to his death.
Puryear earned a reputation as a fearless climber in the 90’s when he put up new routes in a variety of places around the world. He was even hired by the National Park Service to be a ranger on Rainier where he could conduct mountain rescues if necessary. Joe also earned a living as a climbing guide, often working for some of the top mountaineering companies in the world.
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