KATHMANDU, Nepal (KDVR) — The body of a world-renowned professional ski mountaineer from Telluride was recovered in Nepal Wednesday.

Hilaree Nelson, 49, was skiing down from the summit of Mount Manaslu with her partner Jim Morrison when she triggered a small avalanche, was swept off her feet, and carried down the mountain, according to Morrison.

Morrison shared a post on Instagram on Wednesday morning:

“There are no words to describe the love for this woman, my life partner, my lover, my best friend, and my mountain partner.

She has been the beacon of light in my life day in and day out.

On September 26th at 10:42 a.m. we reached the true summit of Manaslu in tough conditions. 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) of the mountain over 5000’. 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.

I spent the last two days searching from the air in a helicopter.

Today with the help of @capt_surendra an incredibly skilled pilot we were able to land at 22,000 feet and search for her. @nimsdai was instrumental in helping organize the best team and resources possible and I found her body with the aid of @mt.sherpa today at 10:30 am.

I’m in Kathmandu with her and her spirit.

My loss is indescribable and I am focused on her children and their steps forward. @hilareenelson is the most inspiring person in life and now her energy will guide our collective souls.

Peace be with us all. Pray for her family and community which is broadly stretched across our planet. I’m devastated by the loss of her.”


The North Face

Nelson was a team captain for The North Face. The North Face released a statement on Wednesday morning on Instagram:

“Today we lost our hero, mentor, and our friend. Hilaree Nelson held a spirit as big as the places she led us to. She embodied possibility. Her adventures made us feel at home in the vastness of the world.

On September 26, 2022, Hilaree reached the true summit of Mt. Manaslu with her climbing and life partner Jim Morrison. During her ski descent, Hilaree was swept off her feet by moving snow, resulting in a fall down the south face of Manaslu.

For us, Hilaree transcended the idea of an athlete, a sport or a community. She helped lead our family at The North Face, by being a teammate and team captain who changed our perspective of the outdoors by showing us exactly what it can mean. Her light will forever be an offering, and her optimism in the face of adversity, will forever be our guide.

Our hearts are with Hilaree’s children, her family and her steadfast partner, Jim Morrison.”

Hilaree Nelson’s accomplishments

Nelson’s athlete profile details a long list of accolades.

“With a career spanning two decades that includes dozens of first descents through more than 40 expeditions to 16 different countries, Hilaree Nelson is the most prolific ski mountaineer of her generation. The 45-year-old mother of two was the first female to link two 8000m peaks, Everest and Lhotse, in one 24 hour push. In the fall of 2018, she returned to 27,940-foot Lhotse a second time to ski from the summit, linking turns down one of the most prized un-skied lines in the world,” Nelson’s athlete biography states.

Here is a look at some of the accomplishments Nelson has completed during her time as a professional mountaineer, according to The North Face:

  • First ski descent of Lhotse Couloir, 2018
  • National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, 2018
  • First ski descent of Papsura Peak, India, 2017
  • Double summit of Denali, June 2017 (Messner couloir ski descent, climb of Cassin Ridge)
  • First female ski of Makalu La Couloir, Nepal, 2015
  • Everest and Lhotse in one push, 2012

Nelson’s website said she is “the mother of two wild boys and finds her sanity in the San Juan mountains near her home in Telluride.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.