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Renowned Mountaineer Hilaree Nelson’s Body Found on Manaslu

After going missing on Monday while descending from the summit, Nelson was found by a search and rescue team.


This article originally appeared on Outside Online.

On Wednesday, the body of missing mountaineer Hilaree Nelson was found on the southern slope of Manaslu, Nepal government officials confirmed.

“Rescuers retrieved her body from the south slope of the mountain, about [330 feet] below the peak,” said Sachindra Kumar Yadav, liaison officer at base camp. Nelson’s partner, Jim Morrison, was part of the rescue team that recovered her body.

The 49-year-old mountaineer was skiing down from the 26,781-foot summit with Morrison when she fell off the mountain a few meters below the peak, according to Nelson’s outfitter Shangri-La Nepal Treks. In an Instagram post, Morrison explained what happened:

“On September 26th at 10:42 A.M. we reached the true summit of Manaslu in tough conditions. We quickly transitioned from climbing to skiing in cold and wind with a plan to ski around the corner and regroup with our Sherpa team. I skied first and after a few turns Hilaree followed and started a small avalanche. 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 was unable to go down the face as I hoped to find her alive and live my life with her.”

Rescue operations were hampered by bad weather on Monday. The complex process for obtaining a flight permit in the Manaslu Conservation Area, where the incident took place, also delayed the rescue operation.

Also Read: Manaslu, How Many Have Really Climbed It?

On Tuesday, a helicopter search and rescue team spotted objects resembling skis and clothes, but could not confirm because poor weather prevented them from flying any closer. On Wednesday morning, Morrison and other search and rescue personnel returned to the scene and spotted Nelson’s remains around 9:30 A.M. local time, according to Jiban Ghimire, owner of Shangri-La Treks.

After finding the body, the helicopter dropped Morrison and another Nepali guide at around 21,325 feet, the pair proceeded to free Nelson’s remains. “Jim told us that they literally dug up the body from the frozen ice,” said Sachindra. Her body was airlifted to Kathmandu for an autopsy.

“Today with the help of [Captain Surendra Patel] an incredibly skilled pilot we were able to land at 22,000 feet and search for her,” Morrison wrote. “[Nirmal Purja] was instrumental in helping organize the best team and resources possible and I found her body with the aid of Mingma Tenzi Sherpa today at 10:30 am. I’m in Kathmandu with her and her spirit.”

“My loss is indescribable and I am focused on her children and their steps forward,” he wrote. “[Hilaree Nelson] is the most inspiring person in life and now her energy will guide our collective souls. Peace be with us all. Pray for her family and community which is broadly stretched across our planet. I’m devastated by the loss of her.”

On the same day as Nelson’s accident, a Nepali climbing guide, Anup Rai, was killed by an avalanche below Camp IV.