Rescuers search for famous ski climber who fell from 8th highest mountain

Nepalese rescuers in a helicopter searched for a famous American ski climber on Tuesday, a day after she fell near the top of the world’s eighth tallest mountain.

Also Monday, an avalanche at a lower elevation on Mount Manaslu hit several climbers, killing a Nepali guide and injuring others.

According to Jiban Ghimire of the Kathmandu-based Shangri-La Nepal Trek who organized and outfitted the expedition, Hilaree Nelson, 49, was skiing from the 8,163-meter peak with her partner Jim Morrison when she fell from the mountain.

Bad weather hampered rescue efforts Monday. But visibility was good Tuesday with improved weather conditions as a helicopter hovered over the mountain looking for signs of the missing climber, Ghimire said.

Autumn climbing season

Hundreds of climbers and their local guides attempted to reach the summit during Nepal’s fall climbing season.

All climbers caught in the avalanche on Monday were accounted for. Some of the injured were flown to Kathmandu and treated in hospitals.

One of the injured, Phurte Sherpa, said there were about 13 to 14 people who were swept away by the avalanche.

A Nepalese sherpa guide who survived an avalanche on Mount Manaslu is taken to a hospital in Kathmandu for treatment. The avalanche, which was unrelated to the Nelson incident, has wiped out several climbers. (Niranjan Shrestha/The Associated Press)

“One of our friends died in the avalanche and attempts have been made to retrieve the body, but the rescue helicopter has not yet succeeded,” Sherpa said. “Other injured have broken hands and feet.”

Sherpa and his brother flew a rescue helicopter to HAMS hospital in Kathmandu on Tuesday.

He said they were on their way to camp four to drop oxygen bottles when the avalanche pushed them to camp three.

Nelson, of Telluride, Colo., and Morrison, of Tahoe, California, are extreme skiers who climbed Mount Lhotse, the fourth-highest mountain in the world, in 2018.

“I’m not sure where the missing climber is, but her… [partner] was with us during the search [today]. We made two helicopter rescue attempts to find her but were unsuccessful,” Sherpa said.

The government of Nepal has issued permits to 504 climbers to attempt to climb high peaks during the fall season. Most are located on Mount Manaslu.

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