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Hilaree Nelson obituary: The mountains took her

The Annapurna Express

The Annapurna Express

Hilaree Nelson obituary: The mountains took her

Passionate about mountaineering, she had climbed many peaks all over the world. She was the first female to summit two 8000-meter peaks (Everest and Lhotse) in 24 hours

Hilaree Nelson, an American ski mountaineer, was found dead on Mt. Manaslu, Nepal, near where she went missing. It was earlier confirmed that she had fallen into a crevasse while skiing down the peak of the mountain with her partner, Jim Morrison, on Sept 26. The 49-year-old was hit by an avalanche on her way back to the base. Her body was brought to Teaching Hospital in Maharajgunj, Kathmandu. 

‘It’s truly a necessity to have a passion as a compass in life’ was Nelson’s philosophy and she lived by it. Passionate about mountaineering, she had climbed many peaks all over the world. She was the first female to summit two 8000-meter peaks (Everest and Lhotse) in 24 hours. Nelson was named one of Men’s Journal’s ‘Top 25 Most Adventurous Women in the Last 25 Years’ as well as one of National Geographic’s ‘Adventurers of the Year in 2018’. 

In 2018, Nelson and her partner Jim Morrison also performed the first ski descent of the Dream Line on Lhotse. It was one of the boldest runs of all time. “She was pretty attached to Nepal,” says Jiwan Ghimire, her best friend. “She was a mountaineering enthusiast, and the high peaks of Nepal always had her rushing back after her first visit in 2005,’’ he adds.

Nelson started skiing when she was three years old. She was a mother of two and the current North Face Global Athletic Team Captain in Telluride, Colorado. “She was passionate about skiing and the mountains. She lived for them,” adds Ghimire.