Hilaree Nelson: US mountaineer missing at mountain peak in Nepal

Hilaree Nelson (right) was skiing on Mount Manaslu when she went missing on Monday (Picture: Instagram / jimwmorrison)

Renowned American ski mountaineer Hilaree Nelson has gone missing while hiking the world’s eighth tallest mountain in Nepal.

Nelson, 49, had been with her partner, Jim Morrison, before she went missing while attempting to descend the 26,781-foot peak of Mount Manaslu on skis.

‘We are in touch with Hilaree’s family and supporting search and rescue efforts in every way we can,’ apparel company The North Face, one of Nelson’s sponsors, said in a tweet Monday.

Nelson reportedly fell into crevasse while skiing down the summit, according to The Himalayan Times, who spoke with an eyewitness who said the mountaineer fell about 80 feet (25 meters) into a vertical crevasse and was nowhere to be found.

On Monday, an avalanche at a lower elevation on Mount Manaslu toppled several climbers, killing a Nepali guide and injuring at least 14 others. All impacted by the avalanche have been accounted for, whereas efforts to locate Nelson have stalled due to bad weather.

By Tuesday, visibility was improved enough to send a helicopter near the summit to search for Nelson.

Jiban Ghimire of Shangri-La Nepal Treks, which organized the trip, told Outside Magazine that Nelson and Morrison had reached the mountain’s summit at 11.30am Monday.

‘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,’ Ghimire said.

At 26,781 feet, Mount Manaslu is a difficult peak for rescue missions, with most taking several days to conduct. Additional obstacles in locating Nelson have included bad weather on the mountain.

Last week, both Nelson and Morrison wrote of the challenges they were facing while on their trip.

In an Instagram post, Nelson said, ‘I haven’t felt as sure-footed on Manaslu as I have on past adventure into the thin atmosphere of the high Himalaya,’ she wrote. ‘These past weeks have tested my resilience in new ways’

In his post, Morrison noted the pair ‘went up high and tried hard but the mountain said no. Tails between our legs we bailed from camp 3 and head down (on skis).’

Nelson is a mother of two and an experienced professional ski mountaineer with a career spanning two decades. She has been a pioneer in the mountaineering community. In 2012, she became the first woman to climb the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest, as well as the adjacent mountain, Lhotse, in 24 hours.

Nelson has made first descents for over 40 expeditions across the globe. She became the captain for The North Face Athlete Team in 2018.

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