Jack Durrance Dies


Jack Durrance, one of the best American climbers of the late 1930s and early ’40s, has died at 91. Durrance learned to climb while attending high school in Germany. In just a few summers, he pioneered some of the Grand Teton’s most famous climbs, including the North Face, the complete Exum Ridge, and the demanding West Face, as well as numerous other routes in the Teton range. A pioneering boulderer, he introduced new attitudes and techniques for rock climbing to the United States. He led the popular Durrance Route on Devils Tower and later made headlines nationwide by rescuing a parachutist who had landed atop the remote monolith in Wyoming. Durrance, who helped save a teammate on the 1939 American expedition to K2 from dying of pulmonary edema, built a career as a pulmonary physician and eventually became chief of medicine at a Denver hospital. He also was one of the nation’s leading hybridizers of irises.