Top American alpinist perishes in the Himalaya

Joe Puryear, one of America’s top mountaineers, fell to his death last week while climbing in the Himalaya. He was just 37 years old, but had earned himself a reputation as one of world’s elite climbers, having put up routes in all of the planet’s major mountain ranges, including the Andes, the Himalaya, and the Alps. Joe had reached the summit of more than 30 mountains in the Alaskan Range alone and made more than 80 successful climbs up Mt. Rainier in the state of Washington, where he was a mountain ranger.

Puryear was attempting to make just the second ascent of the remote Labuche Kang, located in Tibet. The 24,170 foot (7367 meter) tall mountain remains largely unexplored even in this day and age, which made it all the more alluring to Joe and his climbing partner David Gottlieb. In the midst of that challenging climb, Puryear fell through a cornice and plummeted hundreds of feet to his death, bringing a premature end to his adventurous life.

Joe is survived by his wife Michelle, who shared his passion for adventure and climbing. She posted her final goodbye to her husband on the expedition’s blog.

The video below comes to us courtesy of the Today Show and offers more insights into Joe’s life.

[Photo credit: Joe Puryear]