“We’re going looking for him today,” Jiban Ghimire of Kathmandu-based Shangri-La Nepal Trek, which organized and outfitted Nelson’s expedition, said Wednesday morning. He said researchers will have more information in a few hours.
Nelson, who has undertaken some 40 expeditions over the past two decades, is presented as “the most prolific female ski mountaineer of her generation” by one of her sponsors, North Face.
A resident of Telluride, Colorado, Nelson grew up in Seattle and spent his weekends at Stevens Pass in the Washington Cascades. North Face says she got hooked on ski mountaineering after visiting Chamonix, a French town at the foot of Europe’s highest mountain, Mont Blanc, after college.
In 2012, she became the first woman to climb two of the world’s tallest mountains, Mount Everest and neighboring Mount Lhotse, in the same 24-hour period. In 2018, she and Morrison returned to the area and became the first to descend on skis from the 27,940ft summit of Lhotse – the fourth highest mountain in the world, she operates in detail on her website.
“It’s hard to climb a 28,000 foot mountain, let alone get your skis on it, have the right conditions and be able to make the climb,” she said in a 2019 video about of this feat.
Nelson is also credited with inspiring young female climbers. A parent of two boys – born two years apart – she wrote in 2019 about the struggles of balancing her mountaineering career with motherhood. Nelson said she went on an expedition when she was six months pregnant and took pay cuts because for an elite climber, “being pregnant was treated like an injury”.
Just days before the fall, Nelson wrote on Instagram about the challenges of his latest expedition.
“I didn’t feel as sure of myself in Manaslu as I did on my past adventures in the thin atmosphere of the high Himalayas. The past few weeks have tested my resilience in new ways,” she wrote. “The constant monsoon with its incessant rains and humidity made me feel homesick.”
How one of the ‘best’ Himalayan trails killed up to 29 hikers
Nelson and his partner abandoned an attempt to reach the top when it became too dangerous to move between two camps. “We climbed high and tried hard but the mountain said no,” Morrison wrote on Instagram four days ago. “With the tail between our legs, we left Camp 3 and descended.”
In a statement posted to Twitter on Tuesday, North Face said it was “in touch with Hilaree’s family and supporting search and rescue efforts in any way we can.”
Climbers in the region regularly struggle with changing weather conditions and avalanches. On Monday, an avalanche further down the mountain killed a Nepalese guide and injured several other climbers, the Associated Press reported.
Sherpas and climbers described the harsh conditions on social media, as climbers braved inclement weather to beat crowds vying to get to the top. during peak fall climbing season.
The Nepalese government has issued 504 permits to foreigners wishing to climb the Himalayan mountains this season, most of them for Manaslu, the AP reported. The tourist office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.