U.S. Mountaineer Hilaree Nelson Missing After Falling Into Crevasse in Nepal

US Mountaineer Hilaree Nelson Missing After 'Skiing Into Crevasse'
US Mountaineer Hilaree Nelson Missing After 'Skiing Into Crevasse'
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Hilaree Nelson/Instagram

American ski mountaineer Hilaree Nelson is missing in Nepal after reportedly falling into a crevasse while descending from the peak of a mountain.

On Monday, Nelson, 49, and her partner Jim Morrison ascended the peak of Manaslu, an 26,781-foot mountain that stands eighth-tallest in the world, with three Sherpa guides before they attempted to ski down from the summit, reported The New York Times.

A quarter-hour after Nelson and Morrison started skiing, however, the group radioed the manager of expedition organizers Shangri-La Nepal Trek to report that Nelson appeared to fall into a 2,000-foot crevasse, reported Outside magazine.

"The duo reached the true summit of Manaslu at 11.30 A.M. local time. And about 15 minutes 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 Shangri-La Nepal Trek told Outside

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Hilaree Nelson of Telluride, Colorado, and James Morrison of Tahoe, California, raise their fists as the pair arrived in Kathmandu, Nepal, . The two American extreme skiers who overcame weather conditions, delays, equipment and oxygen issues to successfully ski down from the summit of the world's fourth-highest peak Mount Lhotse returned safely from the mountains US Mountain Skiers, Kathmandu, Nepal - 04 Oct 2018

Niranjan Shrestha/AP/Shutterstock

Eyewitnesses told The Himalayan Times Monday that Nelson appeared to fall roughly 80 feet into the crevasse during the accident. It is unclear whether she may have survived the fall.

Morrison continued skiing down the mountain to seek help at a base camp Monday, but Ghimire told The Times that inclement weather was "hampering search and rescue operations."

Ghimire added that his company would send a helicopter early Tuesday morning to the crevasse Nelson disappeared into and that Morrison would join the rescue mission so long as the weather proved fair enough to fly, according to The Times.

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Last Thursday, Nelson shared a series of photos on Instagram showing her group's journey up and down the mountain, adding that inclement weather had prevented the group from attempting to reach the summit.

"These past weeks have tested my resilience in new ways. The constant monsoon with its incessant rain and humidity has made me hopelessly homesick," Nelson wrote on Instagram. "I am challenged to find the peace and inspiration from the mountain when it's been constantly shrouded in mist. Yesterday we ended our summit bid when we decided it was too dangerous to move from C3 to C4."

"We subsequently decided to ski down from C3 knowing that would mean carrying our skis all the way back up the mountain again if, big if here, we try again for a summit," she added. "It was the best thing we could've done."

View of the mountains near the village of Bimthang on the Manaslu Circuit, 12 days from the trailhead at Arughat Bazaar. The 16-day Manaslu Circuit is part of the Great Himalaya Trail (GHT), a series of trekking trails developed by Dutch aid agency, SNV, together with the Nepalese government, which crosses Nepal from East to West and when finished aims to cover 8000 kilometres across the Himalayas. Around 85% of trekkers to Nepal - approximately 100,000 people per year walk in the country's three most established areas- Annapurna, Everest and Langtang. Around 45% of people living in Nepals mountains live below the poverty line. The GHT hopes that by opening new walking trails tourism can become a tool for poverty alleviation.

Leisa Tyler/LightRocket via Getty

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Nelson was the first woman to climb two 8,000-meter mountain peaks when she climbed both Mt. Everest and nearby Lhotse, the world's fourth-highest peak, in a 24-hour time period, according to her website and The Times. Nelson and Morrison were also the first people to ever successfully ski down from Lhotse's peak in 2018.

Nelson's website, which adds that she was named National Geographic's 2018 Adventurer of the Year, states that she "is an avid proponent of wild places such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and holds to the philosophy that these places have huge significance in the well-being of both the planet and the human psyche."

On Monday, an avalanche further down Manaslu hit a separate climbing expedition, killing one person and injuring 14 more, according to The Times.