Hilaree Nelson, a prominent North Face athlete and legendary mountain skier, has gone missing just below the summit of Manaslu Monday morning, while her partner Jim Morrison skied down from the peak, according to her outfitter Shangri-La Nepal Trek.
“The duo reached the true summit of Manaslu at 11.30am local time. And about 15 minute 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,” Jiban Ghimire, Managing Director of the outfitter told Everest Chronicle. Jim was just a few minutes ahead of Hilaree.
Based on the description of her guides, she fell off towards the other side of the peak. It could be an estimated 3,000-meter free fall from the peak. She is speculated to have fallen down on the Bhimthang side of the mountain. It is an extremely tricky place to conduct search and rescue. Besides, search and rescue operations are hampered by bad weather.
“Weather is terrible, which is why we have not been able to search properly,” he said. Her Sherpa guides are in Camp IV, while Morrison is reported to have reached the base camp in the evening. He made it to the base camp at 4 pm local time.
The duo had reached the base camp on September 2. The duo scaled the real peak of Manaslu with support of three Sherpa guides. The guides were stuck at Camp IV after a deadly avalanche occurred right below them.
“She is a super nice person. We did not expect this to happen,” Jiban Ghimire told Everest Chronicle, who knows her since 2005.
Hilaree is the most prolific ski mountaineer of her generation. The 49-year-old mother of two was the first female to scale two 8,000ers– Everest and Lhotse, in 24 hours. She is the first female to ski down from Lhotse, fourth highest mountain in the fall of 2018 with her partner Jim. She was recognized as the National Geographic Adventurer of the Year in 2018. In the same year, she was named captain of The North Face Athlete Team, a title only one other athlete has held: Conrad Anker, according to North Face. Hilaree also has a strong Nepal connection as she has raised thousands of dollars for various charities in Nepal through her global expeditions and missions.
Just down below where Hilaree went missing, another tragedy has hit Manaslu aspirants as one Nepali guide died while waiting for rescue after the avalanche. 13 others are injured among which 4 are said to be critical.