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Mountaineer Hilaree Nelson, raised in Seattle, missing after Nepal crevasse fall

Sept. 26, 2022 Updated Tue., Sept. 27, 2022 at 9:02 p.m.

By Daisy Zavala Magaña Seattle Times

SEATTLE – Prolific ski mountaineer Hilaree Nelson, who grew up in Seattle, is reportedly missing after falling into a crevasse Monday during an expedition in Nepal.

Nelson and Jim Morrison, her climbing and romantic partner, on Monday reached the top of Manaslu, the eighth-tallest mountain in the world at 26,781 feet, the New York Times reported.

Three Sherpa guides radioed the owner of Shangri-La Nepal Trek, who organized the expedition, to say Nelson had fallen into a crevasse while skiing down the peak, according to the report. Morrison skied down to seek help.

It’s unknown whether Nelson, a renowned role model to other adventurers, survived the crevasse fall.

Sherpas are members of an ethnic group in Nepal known for their high-altitude climbing skills. They often work as guides in the Himalayas and elsewhere.

On Friday, Nelson had shared an online update about turning around short of the summit the day before.

“I haven’t felt as sure-footed on Manaslu as I have on past adventures into the thin atmosphere of the high Himalaya,” Nelson wrote on Instagram. “These past weeks have tested my resilience in new ways. The constant monsoon with its incessant rain and humidity has made me hopelessly homesick. I am challenged to find the peace and inspiration from the mountain when it’s been constantly shrouded in mist.”

Nelson lives near Telluride, Colorado, but grew up in Seattle, skiing at Stevens Pass Ski Area.

Her career spans two decades and includes expeditions to at least 16 countries. The 49-year-old mother of two was the first woman to climb two 8,000-meter peaks, Mount Everest and Lhotse, in a 24-hour push.

Nelson and Morrison also claimed the first ski descent of the 27,940-foot Lhotse.

Her many successes include earning a National Geographic Explorers grant in 2014 to lead an expedition to a “little-known” peak in the northern region of Myanmar, Hkakabo Razi, that was captured in an award-winning documentary, “Down to Nothing.”

Nelson was named National Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year in 2018, according to the biography. She was also named captain of The North Face Athlete Team the same year, a title only U.S. climber Conrad Anker has held.

An avalanche that occurred lower on the mountain the same day as Nelson’s crevasse fall left one person dead and 14 injured, Nepal’s tourism department said.

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