Hilaree Nelson’s Body Found on Manaslu; Morrison Explains Accident

American skier Hilaree Nelson’s body has been found and retrieved from Manaslu’s south face. A search helicopter crew spotted it this morning.

“Rescuers found her body about 6,200 feet (1,900m) from the summit,” helicopter pilot Capt. Surendra Poudel of Simrik Air told The Washington Post.

The helicopter dropped Nelson’s partner Jim Morrison and two Sherpa climbers near the location. They found Nelson’s body about 50m from the landing site, according to Poudel.

Yesterday’s aerial searchers had seen a ski and some clothes during their reconnaissance flight, but worsening weather prevented them from completing the task. Today, the helicopter took off as soon as the weather cleared and flew directly back to the same area on the south side of the mountain.

It took searchers an hour and a half to dig out Nelson’s remains. The helicopter then returned them to Base Camp and flew her body to Kathmandu.

On Instagram, partner Jim Morrison explained what happened:

“On September 26th at 10:42 am, we reached the true summit of Manaslu in tough conditions,” he said. “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)…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.”

A resident of Telluride, Colorado, Hilaree Nelson was captain of The North Face team of sponsored athletes. A highly experienced ski-mountaineer, she had climbed and skied both Cho Oyu and Lhotse.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.