The body of Hilaree Nelson was found Wednesday and taken to a forensic laboratory
in Kathmandu for an autopsy after the renowned US ski mountaineer died during an
expedition in Nepal, according to Sachindra Kumar Yadav, an official with the
The 49-year-old American, who has enjoyed a famed career spanning over two
decades had disappeared below the summit of Nepal’s Mount Manaslu – the world’s
Nelson was a mother of two, and her partner, Jim Morrison, is also an experienced ski
“There are no words to describe the love for this woman, my life partner, my lover, my
best friend, and my mountain partner,” Morrison wrote on social media Wednesday.
Morrison detailed that the pair reached the true summit late Monday morning “in
tough conditions.” They then moved to ski down, starting with a plan to go around a
corner to meet up with a team of Sherpas.
“I skied first and after a few turns Hilaree followed and started a small avalanche,” he
wrote. “She was swept off her feet and carried down a narrow snow slope down the
south side (opposite from climbing route) of the mountain over 5000′. I did
everything I could to locate her but could not go down the face as I hoped to find
her alive and live my life with her.”
A high line drop from a helicopter was reportedly used to retrieve her body. Her body
was then taken to Kathmandu, officials confirmed.
Helicopter search efforts for her were underway into Tuesday but were unsuccessful,
mountaineer Lukas Furtenbach said. Morrison wrote that he was part of
those search efforts, which eventually involved landing at 22,000 feet to search.
Other mountaineers were instrumental in finding her, Morrison wrote, including
Surendra Paudel, Nims Purja and Mingma Tenzi Sherpa.
At 26,781 feet, Manaslu is a difficult peak for rescue efforts. Finding someone in those
conditions would take an expert of the mountain to know where to go, Seven Summit
“Today we lost our hero, mentor, and our friend,” The North Face said in a statement
Wednesday. “Hilaree Nelson held a spirit as big as the places she led us to. She
embodied possibility. Her adventures made us feel at home in the vastness of the
Nelson went missing as an avalanche caused tragedy lower down on the mountain.
One person was killed and 14 were injured, according to The New York Times.
Helicopter rescue efforts took place on Monday and Tuesday for avalanche victims.
Furtenbach said those injured have all been rescued.