The body of the one of the most famous female ski mountaineers in the world was found on Wednesday after she had disappeared falling into a crevasse on Manaslu in Nepal, the world’s eighth-highest mountain.
U.S. ski mountaineer Hilaree Nelson, 49, the mother of two teenage sons, was the first woman to summit Mount Everest and the adjacent Lhotse peak within 24 hours. In 2018, she was named the National Geographic adventurer of the year after she summited and skied down Papsura, aka the “Peak of Evil” in India, and Denali in Alaska.
“I haven’t felt as sure-footed on Manaslu as I have on past adventure into the thin atmosphere of the high Himalaya,” Nelson wrote last Thursday, adding, “These past weeks have tested my resilience in new ways.”
Nelson’s boyfriend, Jim Morrison, who had tragically lost his own wife and two daughters in a plane accident in 2011, and who contemplated suicide before he fell in love with Nelson in 2013, led the search for her body along with three Sherpa guides in a helicopter search organized by Shangri-La Nepal Trek.
“The search team that left this morning on a helicopter spotted her body,” Jiban Ghimire, managing director of Shangri-La Nepal Trek told AFP. He told Outside magazine, “The duo reached the true summit of Manaslu at 11.30 A.M. local time. And about 15 minutes later I got a call from our staff at Base Camp that her ski blade skidded off and [she] fell off the other side of the peak.”
Body of famed US climber Hilaree Nelson found in Himalayas https://t.co/8vR1A1fLxc
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) September 28, 2022
We are deeply saddened by the passing of Hilaree Nelson, one of the most prolific ski mountaineers in the world, a National Geographic Explorer and recipient of the 2018 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year award.
Read more about her legacy https://t.co/YwiyStQ7DL
— National Geographic (@NatGeo) September 28, 2022
“We all go to the mountains because there is some innate part of being human that seeks challenge and there is endless challenge to be found in our wild places. I’ve always seen mountains as a blank canvas that lets me be an artist by choosing my unique path when amongst them. It’s freedom in its purest and most simple form,” she wrote.
“But, like many things in life, what you originally set out to do isn’t always where you end up. It’s the unexpected adventures along the way that create the true magic. There’s so much more to this passion than just the climb or the ski, there are the human connections created along this journey that have been some of the deepest and most profound friendships of my life. There is also tragedy. The mountains are both majestic and fierce. They give so much and they take so much,” she added.
Nelson, who is survived by her 15 and 13-year-old sons, who were staying with her ex-husband in Colorado while she was traveling, told Sports Illustrated in 2020, “I tell myself a lot that the risks I take and the places I go are eventually good for my kids, and that they’re learning about their mom as an individual, too, as a person seeing that I have a passion and I’m in tune with that in living a life.”