Hilaree Nelson, a famed U.S. extreme skier, was found dead and her body recovered Wednesday after she fell from Mount Manaslu in Nepal — the world’s eighth-highest mountain.
The 49-year-old Washington state native was skiing down the 26,775-foot mountain with her partner, Jim Morrison, on Monday when she fell from the mountain. Rescuers were able to reach her body two days later, and she was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Kathmandu where doctors planned to perform an autopsy.
Morrison put out a heartbreaking tribute on social media.
"There are no words to describe the love for this woman, my life partner, my lover, my best friend, and my mountain partner," Morrison wrote on Instagram. "She has been the beacon of light in my life day in and day out.
"On September 26th at 10:42 am 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."
Nelson was from Telluride, Colorado, and Morrison is from Tahoe, California. Both skiers reached the summit of Mount Lhotse, the world’s fourth-highest mountain in 2018.
Nelson was a European women’s extreme skiing champion. She was named one of "The 25 Most Adventurous Women of the Past 25 Years" by Men’s Journal.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.