Hilaree Nelson, a renowned climber and mother of two, was skiing down Mount Manaslu with her lover Jim Morrison when she vanished on Monday morning.
Morrison continued skiing down to base camp to report her missing after losing his wife and their two young children in an aircraft accident in 2011, but inclement weather initially impeded search-and-rescue attempts.
According to a friend and fellow climber, Fernanda Maciel, as soon as the weather improved on Tuesday, Morrison climbed onto a rescue aircraft to join the search effort.
A different tragedy occurred on Monday when many climbers were washed away by an avalanche on Mount Manaslu at a lower level, killing one Nepali guide and wounding others.
A decade ago, an aircraft tragedy in Barstow, California, claimed the lives of Morrison’s wife Katie, their two children Wyatt, age six, and Hannah, age five.
Katie, a certified pilot, lost control of the Cessna 210 she was piloting in bad weather while transporting her children and no other passengers, according to an inquiry.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Morrison discussed how he was overcome with sadness after the passing of his wife and children and how, after considering suicide, he immersed himself in climbing.
After meeting Nelson on a 2013 climbing trip to Mount Malaku, when he sobbed in a tent at base camp and related his tale of personal grief, he discovered new love with her.
The Himalaya Times was informed on Monday in Nepal by an eyewitness to Nelson’s plunge that she plummeted around 80 feet into a 2,000-foot vertical chasm. She may have survived the first fall, but that remained unknown.
A spokeswoman for The North Face said in a statement to DailyMail.com on Tuesday, “For the time being, we are able to confirm that we have received reports that Hilaree Nelson, Professional Ski Mountaineer and Team Captain for The North Face, has gone missing just below the summit of Mt Manaslu in Nepal.”
We are in contact with Hilaree’s family and are doing all we can to aid in the search and rescue operations throughout the world, she said.
Nelson, who is supported by the outdoor clothing company North Face, resides in Telluride, Colorado, with her boys Quinn, 15, and Graydon, 13. While Nelson is gone, the boys reside with his ex-husband.
She was the first woman to ascend Everest and Lhotse, two 8,000-meter peaks, in a single 24-hour effort.
When she and Morrison went back to Nepal in 2018, they were the first people to successfully ski down Lhotse, the fourth-highest mountain in the world at 27,940 feet.
They then made the decision to ski down Manaslu, another 8,000-meter summit, which wasn’t a record attempt but was still quite difficult.
Nelson and Morrison attempted to reach the peak on Friday but were unsuccessful.
Nelson said on Instagram, “I haven’t felt as sure-footed on Manaslu as I had on previous expedition into the thin atmosphere of the high Himalaya.”
“These last weeks have put my fortitude to new tests. I am very homesick as a result of the ongoing monsoon and its relentless rain and humidity. It is difficult for me to get inspiration and calm from the mountain when it is continually veiled in mist.
‘We concluded it was too risky to proceed from C3 to C4 yesterday, therefore we cancelled our summit attempt.
We then made the decision to ski down from C3, even though we knew that if—and this is a huge if—we tried again for a summit, we would have to carry our skis all the way back up the mountain. The best course of action was taken.
She continued by describing the pure delight of skiing down a mountain.
“All the weight and seriousness that had been bothering me during the whole journey disappeared to the background as soon as I took the first curve in the sticky hot pow, in a complete white out.”
We skied around 4500 feet of the 6000-foot descent to BC with @jimwmorrison.
It was jam-packed with antics like rappelling over seracs while wearing skis and posing for photos alongside climbers moving upward.
I hope that makes sense. She said that their team was “laughing, racing, and generally just being present and genuinely witnessing what I had been watching for weeks but not comprehending.”
Nelson concluded: “Laughing and smiling felt wonderful!”
Morrison recorded the Friday effort as well.
“We got up high and tried very hard,” he wrote. “But the mountain said no.”
“With our tails between our legs, we left camp 3 and descended” (on skis).
We weren’t ready for the sheer joy of skiing, however. I adore pow skiing. at 7000 meters and at home.
We skied to base camp, drank some @tincupwhiskey, and are now heading back up with broad grins.
I really hope we can ski down the top this time since my skis were excellent in very challenging situations.
Everyone who knew Nelson, including her friends, family, classmates, and admirers, prayed for a miracle and her safe return.
Her sponsor, North Face, described her as the most productive ski mountaineer of her generation with a career spanning two decades and included several first descents over the course of more than 40 missions to 16 different countries.
“It’s been a route of delight, one that I desire to share with others. From dread to victory, tears to laughter, loneliness to companionship.”
She conquered and skied down Papsura, often known as the Peak of Evil, in India, and then accomplished the same feat on Denali in Alaska, earning her recognition as the National Geographic adventurer of the year in 2018.
When asked at the time what her kids thought of their mom’s adventurous lifestyle, the mother responded to The Outside Journal by saying, “Skiing and mountain climbing have always simply been a part of their lives as long as they can remember.”
They may not completely grasp the risks involved, but I believe they are aware of the perils anyway.
They adore what I do, but I’m not sure whether they approve of it. It’s simply what I do.
She spoke about how much she enjoyed spending time in the mountains with her kids and how her profession had improved their lives.
It took her a while to understand that allowing her children to view her as an individual and developing their trust in that was a result of both her career and being a mother.
For a very long time, I fought the idea that by keeping my job, I was harming my children.
But now that I can see their pride and support for what I do, we can have reasoned discussions about it. They seem to be pleased with me.
I can see they value what I do and consider me a person.
I believe that everything has been worthwhile, although it wasn’t without tears and terrible moments.
Only 16 Americans, including Alexander Pancoe, have reached both the North and South Poles and all seven summits. He tweeted: “Tragic. I’ve been intrigued by Jim Morrison and Hilaree Nelson ever since I first fell in love with climbing, hoping for a miracle.
Oh no, says author Nick Heil of Dark Summit: The True Story of Everest’s Most Controversial Season. The sound of this is not pleasant.
I previously had the pleasure of working with her on a project, tweeted another fan named Dash Hegeman. Such a wonderful individual! really hope for a successful result. More Hilaree Nelsons are needed in the world, not less.