Renowned Telluride ski mountaineer, found dead after Mt. Manaslu accident

Hilaree Nelson's body has been found, after going missing for two days in Nepal

Kristen Mohammadi
Aspen Times
Hilaree Nelson (right) and her partner Jim Morrison on Mount Manaslu.
Screenshot from Hilaree Nelson’s Instagram

Hilaree Nelson, one of the world’s most acclaimed big-mountain skiers, went missing on Monday while in Nepal on an expedition in Mount Manaslu.

Two days after she went missing, her body was found on the side of Larke Peak by a team of rescuers, according to The Himalayan Times.

On the day of the accident, she and her partner, Jim Morrison, had successfully climbed their way to the top Manaslu at 10:42 a.m and quickly regrouped to ski down the mountain, according to Morrison’s Instagram post on Wednesday.

“I skied first, and, after a few turns, Hilaree followed and started a small avalanche,” he said. “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’.”

He safely made his way to basecamp to seek help. However, there was an avalanche in the lower summit area impacting another group of climbers.

The avalanche left one at least one person dead and 12 injured, according to The Himalayan Times. With the weather conditions, the search for Nelson was postponed to Tuesday.

“I did everything I could to locate her but was unable to go down the face as I hoped to find her alive and live my life with her. I spent the last two days searching from the air in a helicopter,” said Morrison on Wednesday.

On Monday, The North Face brand — Nelson’s sponsor — took to Twitter to share: “We are in touch with Hilaree’s family and supporting search and rescue efforts in every way that we can.”

We reached out to The North Face, which said they are not taking interviews at this time because they, and the community, are grieving.

The company said in a release on Wednesday: “Today we lost our hero, mentor and our friend. 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 world.”

“For us, Hilaree transcended the idea of an athlete, a sport or a community. She helped lead our family at The North Face, by being a teammate and team captain who changed our perspective of the outdoors by showing us exactly what it can mean. Her light will forever be an offering, and her optimism in the face of adversity, will forever be our guide.”

Nelson moved mountains

Nelson was a Seattle native but lived in Telluride with her two children.

She is considered one of the most prolific outdoor adventurers of her generation. In her lengthy list of accomplishments, she was the first female to summit two 8000-meter peaks, Mount Everest and Lhoste, in one 24-hour push.

In 2017, Men’s Journal named her one of the most adventurous women of the last 25 years. In 2018, she was named The National Geographic Adventurer of the Year.

She spoke about being an endurance athlete past the age of 40 at Aspen Ideas Festival back in 2019.

That same year she told told the The Aspen Times: “I’ve done this so long and put so much time into it, my senses are so adapted to what I do that I’m so much more efficient and better at it, even if I’m not physically even close to as strong as I was in my 20s.

“Another big part of it is I love it. That gives me a greater ability to take risks. Even if I fail, I’m excited I got the chance to be there and to try.”

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