Escape of shock and grief in the mountaineering and skiing community at the death of Hilaree Nelson

Hilaree Nelson with her sons, Grayden (right) and Quinn (left), photo: Hilaree Nelson via The Inertia

The internet was flooded with heartfelt and shocked messages at the news of Hilaree Nelson’s death. Hilaree Nelson died while skiing on Manaslu Mountain in Nepal on Monday, September 26, 2022. Hilaree and her climbing and life partner Jim Morrison had reached the summit at 26,781 feet earlier in the day after a failed attempt a few days earlier. early.

Jim Morrison described the event on his Instagram page and according to his account, Hilaree triggered a small avalanche which eventually took her down to 5,000ft in a steep drop. His body was recovered two days later by helicopter. Jim was instrumental in recovering his body with the help of Elite Exped, the Sherpa and Gurkha mountain guide company founded and run by 14 Peaks-Nims Purja, as well as helicopter pilot Captain Surendra. His body was airlifted to Samagau from where it will be repatriated to Telluride, CO.

The world of freeskiing and mountaineering is in shock at the news of his fatal accident. Social media is awash with an outpouring of grief over the devastating loss of one of this century’s greatest mountaineers. Professional freeskier Lynsey Dyer called Hilaree her hero in a beautiful Instagram post in which she shares how she first met Hilaree on a ski tour. Snowboarder and filmmaker Leanne Pelosi also calls Hilaree a “superhero”, thanking her for her “kindness, leadership, mentorship and friendship”. Fellow professional freeskier Ingrid Backstrom calls her a “force of nature” and professional skier Ian McIntosh posted a Hilarious anecdote about her on his Instagram feed.

National Geographic photographer, mountaineer and filmmaker Jimmy Chin, who also worked for North Face and spent a month with Hilaree on an expedition to Antarctica, remembers her not just as his friend but as “a real superhuman”.

Nick McNutt talks about Hilaree’s humble nature despite her “larger-than-life accomplishments” and incredible leadership and guidance. Nick was a freeskier who was with Hilaree on the North Face team. He, like many others, called Hilaree a “beacon of light”, words also used by his partner Jim Morrison. For Jim, this metaphor is all the more poignant as he met Hilaree during one of his darkest times, after losing his wife and two children in a plane crash in 2011.

It’s amazing how many lives she has touched and influenced. There are countless tributes on social media, from people who have known her for decades and those who were simply inspired by her from afar. There are too many to write here, but the loss of a unique and inspiring person permeates them all. The world has lost a superhuman. But his legacy lives on.

Instead of someone else’s words, I’ll leave you with Hilaree’s:

“These deaths at high altitude have always marked me deeply. It goes without saying that mountaineering can claim even the most experienced athlete in seconds. But one thing can be said about these adventurous souls – they risked everything while doing what they love, inspiring the next generation and putting fear aside to experience immense joy. May we all reach the top of the mountain, whatever form that takes for you. Rest in peace. – Hilarious Nelson

Hilarious Nelson
Hilaree Nelson, captain of North Face, December 13, 1972 – September 26, 2022